A clinical trial including 50 medical centers and 304 patients has confirmed that polyethylene (PEG) laxative is safe for patients suffering from chronic constipation. The study, published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, indicates that even elderly patients can use the drug safely for up to six months.
?Until recently, few data were available regarding the long term treatment of chronic constipation,? says study author Dr. Jack DiPalma. ?Only two medications are currently approved by the FDA for treatment of this condition.?
The study was a double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. 52 percent of patients taking PEG responded successfully to treatment, compared to 11 percent of those taking the placebo. Similar results were observed when analyzed for differences due to gender, race and age.
Although some patients did show slight side effects, there was no significant difference between the PEG-treated and placebo groups.