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Medline (1966–2004) and bibliographies of relevant studies and reviews.
Study selection and assessment:
randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared medical therapies with placebo or compared 2 separate agents in adults with constipation. Assessment of study quality was done using a 5 point score (5 = highest quality) based on randomisation procedure, allocation concealment, blinding, and completeness of follow up.
stool frequency, stool consistency, straining, use of additional laxatives, ease of defecation, and side effects.
Laxatives evaluated were osmotic laxatives (eg, polyethylene …
A modified version of this abstract appears in ACP Journal Club.
For correspondence: Dr S S Rao, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA, USA.
Source of funding: Novartis Pharmaceuticals.