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Osmotic and stimulant laxatives for the management of childhood constipation

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2016
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (94th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (80th percentile)

Mentioned by

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1 news outlet
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43 tweeters
facebook
4 Facebook pages
wikipedia
2 Wikipedia pages

Citations

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26 Dimensions

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94 Mendeley
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Title
Osmotic and stimulant laxatives for the management of childhood constipation
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd009118.pub3
Pubmed ID
Authors

Morris Gordon, John K MacDonald, Claire E Parker, Anthony K Akobeng, Adrian G Thomas

Abstract

Constipation within childhood is an extremely common problem. Despite the widespread use of osmotic and stimulant laxatives by health professionals to manage constipation in children, there has been a long standing paucity of high quality evidence to support this practice. We set out to evaluate the efficacy and safety of osmotic and stimulant laxatives used to treat functional childhood constipation. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and the Cochrane IBD Group Specialized Trials Register from inception to 10 March 2016. There were no language restrictions. We also searched the references of all included studies, personal contacts and drug companies to identify studies. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) which compared osmotic or stimulant laxatives to placebo or another intervention, with participants aged 0 to 18 years old were considered for inclusion. The primary outcome was frequency of defecation. Secondary endpoints included faecal incontinence, disimpaction, need for additional therapies and adverse events. Relevant papers were identified and two authors independently assessed the eligibility of trials, extracted data and assessed methodological quality using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. The primary outcome was frequency of defecation. Secondary endpoints included faecal incontinence, disimpaction, need for additional therapies and adverse events. For continuous outcomes we calculated the mean difference (MD) and 95% confidence interval (CI) using a fixed-effect model. For dichotomous outcomes we calculated the risk ratio (RR) and 95% CI using a fixed-effect model. The Chi(2) and I(2) statistics were used to assess statistical heterogeneity. A random-effects model was used in situations of unexplained heterogeneity. We assessed the overall quality of the evidence supporting the primary and secondary outcomes using the GRADE criteria. Twenty-five RCTs (2310 participants) were included in the review. Fourteen studies were judged to be at high risk of bias due to lack of blinding, incomplete outcome data and selective reporting. Meta-analysis of two studies (101 patients) comparing polyethylene glycol (PEG) with placebo showed a significantly increased number of stools per week with PEG (MD 2.61 stools per week, 95% CI 1.15 to 4.08). Common adverse events in the placebo-controlled studies included flatulence, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea and headache. Participants receiving high dose PEG (0.7 g/kg) had significantly more stools per week than low dose PEG (0.3 g/kg) participants (1 study, 90 participants, MD 1.30, 95% 0.76 to 1.84). Meta-analysis of 6 studies with 465 participants comparing PEG with lactulose showed a significantly greater number of stools per week with PEG (MD 0.70 , 95% CI 0.10 to 1.31), although follow-up was short. Patients who received PEG were significantly less likely to require additional laxative therapies. Eighteen per cent (27/154) of PEG patients required additional therapies compared to 31% (47/150) of lactulose patients (RR 0.55, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.83). No serious adverse events were reported with either agent. Common adverse events in these studies included diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and pruritis ani. Meta-analysis of 3 studies with 211 participants comparing PEG with milk of magnesia showed that the stools per week were significantly greater with PEG (MD 0.69, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.89). However, the magnitude of this difference was quite small and may not be clinically significant. One child was noted to be allergic to PEG, but there were no other serious adverse events reported. One study found a significant difference in stools per week favouring milk of magnesia over lactulose (MD -1.51, 95% CI -2.63 to -0.39, 50 patients), Meta-analysis of 2 studies with 287 patients comparing liquid paraffin (mineral oil) with lactulose revealed a relatively large statistically significant difference in the number of stools per week favouring liquid paraffin (MD 4.94 , 95% CI 4.28 to 5.61). No serious adverse events were reported. Adverse events included abdominal pain, distention and watery stools. No statistically significant differences in the number of stools per week were found between PEG and enemas (1 study, 90 patients, MD 1.00, 95% CI -1.58 to 3.58), dietary fibre mix and lactulose (1 study, 125 patients, P = 0.481), senna and lactulose (1 study, 21 patients, P > 0.05), lactitol and lactulose (1 study, 51 patients, MD -0.80, 95% CI -2.63 to 1.03), hydrolyzed guar gum and lactulose (1 study, 61 patients, MD 1.00, 95% CI -1.80 to 3.80), PEG and flixweed (1 study, 109 patients, MD 0.00, 95% CI -0.33 to 0.33), PEG and dietary fibre (1 study, 83 patients, MD 0.20, 95% CI -0.64 to 1.04), and PEG and liquid paraffin (2 studies, 261 patients, MD 0.35, 95% CI -0.24 to 0.95). The pooled analyses suggest that PEG preparations may be superior to placebo, lactulose and milk of magnesia for childhood constipation. GRADE analyses indicated that the overall quality of the evidence for the primary outcome (number of stools per week) was low or very low due to sparse data, inconsistency (heterogeneity), and high risk of bias in the studies in the pooled analyses. Thus, the results of the pooled analyses should be interpreted with caution because of quality and methodological concerns, as well as clinical heterogeneity, and short follow-up. There is also evidence suggesting the efficacy of liquid paraffin (mineral oil). There is no evidence to demonstrate the superiority of lactulose when compared to the other agents studied, although there is a lack of placebo controlled studies. Further research is needed to investigate the long term use of PEG for childhood constipation, as well as the role of liquid paraffin. The optimal dose of PEG also warrants further investigation.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 43 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 94 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Chile 2 2%
Colombia 1 1%
Unknown 91 97%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 26 28%
Student > Bachelor 14 15%
Student > Ph. D. Student 10 11%
Other 10 11%
Unspecified 8 9%
Other 26 28%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 45 48%
Nursing and Health Professions 17 18%
Unspecified 13 14%
Psychology 5 5%
Social Sciences 4 4%
Other 10 11%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 38. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 17 May 2019.
All research outputs
#445,191
of 13,376,849 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
#1,362
of 10,572 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#14,810
of 262,814 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
#32
of 161 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,376,849 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 96th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 10,572 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 20.9. This one has done well, scoring higher than 87% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 262,814 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 161 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 80% of its contemporaries.