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

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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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  • Source of funding not stated.