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Evid Based Nurs 8:109 doi:10.1136/ebn.8.4.109
  • Treatment

Review: good evidence supports use of polyethylene glycol and tegaserod for constipation

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of medical therapies for constipation

Drug class Drug Number of RCTs Level of evidence and recommendation
Osmotic laxatives Polyethylene glycol 8 (5 placebo controlled) Good evidence supports use; better than lactulose
Lactulose 11 (3 placebo controlled) Moderate evidence supports use
Bulking agents Psyllium 9 (3 placebo controlled) Moderate evidence supports use
Calcium polycarbophil 1 (v psyllium) Poor evidence for or against use
Bran 4 (1 placebo controlled) Poor evidence for or against use
Methylcellulose 1 (v psyllium) Poor evidence for or against use
Softening or wetting agents Dioctyl (docusate) calcium, dioctyl sodium 4 (1 placebo controlled) Poor evidence for or against use; psyllium better
Stimulant laxatives Senna 1 v sodium picosulfate; 1 v bran Poor evidence for or against use
Bisacodyl 1 v bisoxatin Poor evidence for or against use
Other agents Tegaserod 1 placebo controlled Good evidence supports use

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