What is the role of medications in the treatment of pediatric constipation?

Updated: Dec 14, 2018
  • Author: Stephen M Borowitz, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Answer

In several randomized trials, laxatives have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of chronic childhood constipation. [29, 30] Studies have also shown that polyethylene glycol, [31] mineral oil, magnesium hydroxide, and lactulose are effective and can be used for prolonged time periods without risk.

The key to pharmacotherapy is to use a sufficient amount of laxative to produce the desired effect. The intermittent use of stimulant laxatives may be necessary in some children; however, routine usage of these agents in young children is not generally recommended. Continuous laxative therapy may be required for a number of months until the association between pain and the passage of bowel movements has been extinguished.


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