New Data on Bisacodyl for Pediatric Constipation

A recent retrospective study (S Bonilla et al. JPGN 2020; 71: 288-291. Long-term Use of Bisacodyl in Pediatric Functional Constipation Refractory to Conventional Therapy) provides some reassuring information about the use of bisacodyl for pediatric constipation, n=164.  Bisacodyl’s mechanism of action is due to its ability to cause mucosal secretion and a prokinetic effect on colonic mucosa.

Key findings:

  • Bisacodyl median dose was 5 mg/day, median duration of treatment was 14 months
  • Median number of BM/wk doubled after initiation of bisacodyl from 2 to 4 bm/w (P < 0.001)
  • Approximately 57% of patients had successful response. At long-term follow-up 55% of patients were successfully weaned off bisacodyl (median time of 18 months)
  • Side effects: 8 patients reported abdominal pain, 4 had diarrhea, and 1 had nausea
  • Limitations: open-label study, retrospective study, lack of a placebo-control

My take (from authors): “We observed no long-term complications with its long-term use in children.” Prospective studies are needed.

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