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Table 11Evidence profile of the comparative efficacy of constipation drugs for the treatment of chronic constipation in adults

Evidence Profile: Comparative efficacy of constipation drugs in adults
No. of Studies/PatientsDesignQualityConsistencyDirectnessMagnitude of EffectOther modifying factors*Overall Grade of the Evidence
Outcome: Docusate sodium vs. psyllium
1 RCT, 170 patientsRCTSerious methodological problemsN/AYesNo differenceNoneLow
Outcome: Lactulose vs. PEG 3350
1 RCT, 115 patientsRCTSerious methodological problemsN/AYesLess improvement for lactulose than for PEG 3350 (VAS 5.2 vs. 7.4; P < 0.001)NoneLow
Outcome: PEG 3350 vs. psyllium
1 RCT, 126 patientsRCT, open-labelSome methodological problemsN/AYesGreater rate of improvements with PEG 3350 than with psyllium (92% vs. 73%; P = 0.005)NoneLow
Outcome: All other comparisons
No evidence

*Imprecise or sparse data; a strong or very strong association; high risk of reporting bias; dose response gradient; effect of plausible residual confounding IBS: Irritable Bowel Syndrome; N/A: not applicable; PEG: polyethylene glycol; RCT: randomized controlled trial; VAS: visual analogue scale

From: Results

Cover of Drug Class Review: Constipation Drugs
Drug Class Review: Constipation Drugs: Final Report [Internet].
Gartlehner G, Jonas DE, Morgan LC, et al.
Portland (OR): Oregon Health & Science University; 2007 Sep.
Copyright © 2007, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon.

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