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PEG 3350 (Transipeg) versus lactulose in the treatment of childhood functional constipation: a double blind, randomised, controlled, multicentre trial
  1. W Voskuijl1,
  2. F de Lorijn1,
  3. W Verwijs2,
  4. P Hogeman3,
  5. J Heijmans1,
  6. W Mäkel4,
  7. J Taminiau1,
  8. M Benninga1
  1. 1Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Emma Children’s Hospital, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Paediatrics, Hofpoort Ziekenhuis, Woerden, the Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Paediatrics, Meander Medisch Centrum, Amersfoort, the Netherlands
  4. 4MediServ BV/Clinical Research facilities BV, Schaijk, the Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr W P Voskuijl
    Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Room C2-312, Academic Medical Centre, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, the Netherlands;


Background: Recently, polyethylene glycol (PEG 3350) has been suggested as a good alternative laxative to lactulose as a treatment option in paediatric constipation. However, no large randomised controlled trials exist evaluating the efficacy of either laxative.

Aims: To compare PEG 3350 (Transipeg: polyethylene glycol with electrolytes) with lactulose in paediatric constipation and evaluate clinical efficacy/side effects.

Patients: One hundred patients (aged 6 months–15 years) with paediatric constipation were included in an eight week double blinded, randomised, controlled trial.

Methods: After faecal disimpaction, patients <6 years of age received PEG 3350 (2.95 g/sachet) or lactulose (6 g/sachet) while children ⩾6 years started with 2 sachets/day. Primary outcome measures were: defecation and encopresis frequency/week and successful treatment after eight weeks. Success was defined as a defecation frequency ⩾3/week and encopresis ⩽1 every two weeks. Secondary outcome measures were side effects after eight weeks of treatment.

Results: A total of 91 patients (49 male) completed the study. A significant increase in defecation frequency (PEG 3350: 3 pre v 7 post treatment/week; lactulose: 3 pre v 6 post/week) and a significant decrease in encopresis frequency (PEG 3350: 10 pre v 3 post/week; lactulose: 8 pre v 3 post/week) was found in both groups (NS). However, success was significantly higher in the PEG group (56%) compared with the lactulose group (29%). PEG 3350 patients reported less abdominal pain, straining, and pain at defecation than children using lactulose. However, bad taste was reported significantly more often in the PEG group.

Conclusions: PEG 3350 (0.26 (0.11) g/kg), compared with lactulose (0.66 (0.32) g/kg), provided a higher success rate with fewer side effects. PEG 3350 should be the laxative of first choice in childhood constipation.

  • PEG 3350, polyethylene glycol 3350
  • constipation
  • children
  • lactulose
  • polyethylene glycol
  • randomised controlled trial

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