Low Adherence Rate with Polyethylene Glycol

The sentiment of wanting to get their kid off laxatives/stool softeners is frequently expressed at GI visits.  I certainly understand this.  Though, if a child is not stooling adequately when these medicines are withheld, this is usually detrimental for the child.

Given the frequency of this sentiment, it is not surprising that a recent study (IJN Koppen et al. J Pediatr 2018; 199: 132-9) reports low adherence with polyethylene glycol treatment in children with functional constipation.

In this cross-sectional survey using the Medication Adherence Report Scale (MARS-5), with scores of ≥23 indicating better adherence, the authors found that only 43 of 115 (37%) children were adherent.  The authors note that one of the determinants of adherence was treatment convenience.

The MARS-5 does not objectively measure the exact intake of medication; thus, the exact rate of adherence is unclear.  In addition, there is likely to wide variation in adherence among different populations.

My take: this study shows, at least in some populations, a low adherence with constipation therapy.  Sticking with treatment, for constipation and every other condition, usually results in better outcomes.

Related blog posts:

If someone is not taking their medication, perhaps this cereal would help. (I am not officially endorsing this product, but think the name is funny.)

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