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OBJECTIVES: Polyethylene glycol (PEG) 3350 plus electrolytes (PEG 3350+E) is an established treatment for constipation and has been proposed as a treatment option for constipation associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C). This study aimed to compare the efficacy and safety of PEG 3350+E vs. placebo in adult patients with IBS-C. METHODS: Following a 14-day run-in period without study medication, patients with confirmed IBS-C were randomized to receive PEG 3350+E (N=68) or placebo (N=71) for 28 days. The primary endpoint was the mean number of spontaneous bowel movements (SBMs) per day in the last treatment week. RESULTS: In both groups, mean weekly number of SBMs (±s.d.) increased from run-in. The difference between the groups in week 4 (PEG 3350+E, 4.40±2.581; placebo, 3.11±1.937) was statistically significant (95% confidence interval: 1.17, 1.95; P<0.0001). Although mean severity score for abdominal discomfort/pain was significantly reduced compared with run-in with PEG 3350+E, there was no difference vs. placebo. Spontaneous complete bowel movements, responder rates, stool consistency, and severity of straining also showed superior improvement in the PEG 3350+E group over placebo in week 4. The most common drug related treatment-emergent adverse events were abdominal pain (PEG 3350+E, 4.5%; placebo, 0%) and diarrhoea (PEG 3350+E, 4.5%; placebo, 4.3%). CONCLUSIONS: In IBS-C, PEG 3350+E was superior to placebo for relief of constipation, and although a statistically significant improvement in abdominal discomfort/pain was observed compared with baseline, there was no associated improvement compared with placebo. PEG 3350+E is a well-established and effective treatment that should be considered suitable for use in IBS-C.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/ajg.2013.197

Type

Journal article

Journal

Am J Gastroenterol

Publication Date

09/2013

Volume

108

Pages

1508 - 1515

Keywords

Abdominal Pain, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Constipation, Double-Blind Method, Electrolytes, Female, Humans, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Male, Middle Aged, Polyethylene Glycols, Treatment Outcome