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Pediatr Int. 2005 Feb;47(1):15-9.

A comparative study: the efficacy of liquid paraffin and lactulose in management of chronic functional constipation.

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Clinic of Pediatrics, Sisli Etfal Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.



To determine and compare efficacy, safety and optimal dose of two laxatives, liquid paraffin and lactulose, in 40 children with chronic functional constipation.


A total of 20 children were treated with liquid paraffin and 20 with lactulose for 8 weeks and at an initial dose of 1 mL/kg per day for both drugs. The dose was adjusted every 3 days as required and a diary was kept to monitor dose, side-effects, stool frequency and consistency, and other symptoms.


During first 4 weeks, improvement in stool consistency and frequency was significantly higher in liquid the paraffin group (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively). Improvement in the number of stools per week was also significantly higher in the liquid paraffin group during the last 4 weeks of therapy (P < 0.05). Compliance rates averaged 95% in the liquid paraffin group and 90% in the lactulose group during the first 4 weeks of therapy and 90% in the liquid paraffin group and 60% in the lactulose group during the last 4 weeks of therapy (chi(2) = 4.8, SD = 1, P = 0.02). During the first 4 weeks of therapy and during the last 4 weeks of therapy, mostly side-effects and poor symptom control, respectively, influenced the compliance in the liquid paraffin group.


Liquid paraffin is more effective in the treatment of children with constipation. Patients treated with liquid paraffin responded more rapidly than patients responding to lactulose and showed fewer side-effect. It is considered that late response and side-effects in conjunction with poor symptom control influence the patient compliance and the successful treatment of childhood constipation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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