PEG vs. Fiber for constipation

Which is better for childhood constipation, polyethylene glycol 3350 (PEG) or fiber? A recent study weighs in (J Pediatr 2012; 161: 710-15).

This randomized, prospective, open-label study compared PEG (with electrolytes) to a fiber supplement (acacia fiber, psyllium fiber, and fructose [AFPFF]) in 100 children with chronic functional constipation (Rome III criteria).  Mean age was 6.5 years.  Study design allowed for dosage adjustment.  Initial PEG dosing was 0.5 g/kg but could be increased to 1 g/kg. AFPFF was dosed at 16.8 g daily but could be increased to 22.4 g.  Primary outcome was ≥3 bowel movements per week and improved stool consistency (≥2 on Bristol stool scale).

Key findings:

  • Compliance was better with PEG than AFPFF: 96% for 72%.
  • After 8 weeks, improvement noted in 83% of PEG patients compared to 78% of AFPFF (P=0.788).  At this time point, PEG were having ~5.8 stools/week vs. 5.6 for AFPFF.  Mean Bristol scores were 3.7 and 3.5 respectively.
  • Conclusion: similar efficacy but PEG had better acceptance.  No mention of relative costs of these agents is noted.

Additional references:

Diagnosis and management of idiopathic childhood constipation – BMJ  NICE (Nat’L institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) recommendations 2010

Also, a recent previous post (ACE report -10 year effectiveness | gutsandgrowth) has links to multiple related blog entries.

4 thoughts on “PEG vs. Fiber for constipation

  1. Pingback: AGA Constipation Guidelines | gutsandgrowth

  2. Pingback: What helps kids poop? | gutsandgrowth

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