Several articles highlight the use of polyethylene glycol (Miralax) as a bowel prep for children:
- JPGN 2013; 56: 215-19
- JPGN 2013; 56: 220-24
- JPGN 2013; 56: 225-28
These studies and the accompanying editorial (pg 115) show fairly good results with PEG cleanout regimens.
The first study compared PEG versus senna in a blinded, prospective randomized trial. After enrolling 30 children (6-21 years of age) at a planned interim analysis, the study showed superiority of PEG (1.5 g/kg/day) when used for 2 days prior to colonoscopy. In addition to laxatives, patients were instructed to consume full liquid diet for 2 days prior to procedure & clear liquid on day prior (up to 3 hours before procedure). In the PEG group, good or excellent cleanout scores were noted in 88% compared with only 29% in the senna group. There were no significant adverse effects or electrolyte changes which are well-detailed in this study (Table 2).
The second study evaluated a 1-day regimen with 46 children in a prospective open-label study. 238 g of PEG was mixed with 1.9 L of gatorade and administered over several hours. Patients (8-18 years) were instructed to take only clears after noon the day prior to procedure Only 37 (82%) were able to take the full preparation. 43 (93%) took at least 75% of the preparation. Despite issues with tolerance and nausea/vomiting (noted in 60%), 77% were rated as having an effective cleanout.
The third study enrolled 45 children (5-21 years) in a prospective study of a 1-day bowel preparation. Patients <45 kg received 136 g of PEG solution with 32 ounces of Gatorade; patients >45 kg received 255 g in 64 ounces. 44 children completed study. Patients were told to take PEG over 3 hours the evening prior to procedure and allowed clears until 3 hours prior to procedure. In this group, nausea was noted in 34% and vomiting in 16%. However, patients reported that preparation was easy in 61% and tolerable in 39%. The quality of the preparation was considered excellent in 23%, good in 52%, fair in 23% and poor in 2%. There were no significant electrolyte changes.
Take Home Message:
Numerous small studies show that PEG solutions can be used as a safe, effective bowel preparation in children. Shorter duration preparations are more convenient and may result in nausea or vomiting.
In our institution, we frequently use PEG cleanouts. However, typically our doses of PEG are lower (eg. 136-168 g) and often combined with an enema to complete cleanout process. Unlike adult preparations, we have not instructed families in split-dose regimens mainly due to concerns about the ability of pediatric patients to adhere to these regimens.
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