Evid Based Nurs 12:107 doi:10.1136/ebn.12.4.107
  • Treatment

Review: high-quality evidence on the effectiveness of laxatives for functional constipation in children is limited


Are laxatives and dietary measures effective for functional constipation in children?

Review scope

Included studies compared osmotic, bulk-forming, stimulant or emollient laxatives, lubricating agents, or dietary measures with placebo, no treatment, or alternative treatments in children ⩽18 years of age who had functional constipation. Exclusion criteria included studies of children with psychiatric disease, organic constipation, exclusively non-retentive faecal incontinence, or mental handicap. Outcomes included treatment success (defined by individual studies) or defecation frequency.

Review methods

Medline and EMBASE/Excerpta Medica (to Dec 2007) and reference lists were searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs), comparative clinical trials (CCTs), or crossover studies. 28 studies (n = 1912, duration of follow-up 2 d to 12 mo) met the selection criteria: …

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