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: