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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2013 Feb;56(2):215-9. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182633d0a.

Polyethylene glycol powder solution versus senna for bowel preparation for colonoscopy in children.

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Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



Safety and effectiveness of large-volume polyethylene glycol-based solution (PEG-ES) have been documented, but the taste and volume can be barriers to successful colonoscopy preparation. Efficacy and safety of small-volume electrolyte-free (PEG-P) preparation (Miralax) for colonoscopy preparation have been rarely studied, although presently used at many pediatric centers. The primary objective of the present study was to determine whether PEG-P results in a more efficacious and safe colonoscopy preparation as compared with senna.


The study design was prospective, randomized, and single-blinded. Patients ages 6 to 21 years were randomized to a 2-day clean-out regimen of PEG-P at a dose of 1.5 g/kg divided twice per day for 2 days versus senna 15 mL daily (ages 6-12) or 30 mL daily (ages 12-21) for 2 days. Both preparations required 1 day of clear liquids whereas senna preparation required an additional day of full liquid diet. A blinded endoscopist graded the quality of preparation with a standardized cleanliness tool (Aronchick scale). Serum chemistry panels were obtained. Patients or parents rated symptoms and ease of preparation. The anticipated number of subjects was 166; however, the interim analysis demonstrated inferiority of senna preparation.


Thirty patients were evaluated in the present study. Of the patients in the PEG-P arm, 88% (14/16) received an excellent/good score compared with 29% (4/14), with the senna preparation (P = 0.0022). Both preparations were well-tolerated by patient-graded ease of preparation. Demographics and laboratory values did not differ significantly across the 2 groups. No serious adverse events were noted.


PEG-P is an effective colonoscopy preparation whereas senna preparation was insufficient. Both were well-tolerated and appear safe in a pediatric population.


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