Epidemiology of Constipation in Elderly Patients
Constipation is a common complaint among elderly people, resulting in large amounts of money being spent on laxatives. Strategies for improving patient care while reducing this expenditure include: (a) counselling patients that daily bowel movements and purging are not essential to good health, (b) greater use of non-pharmacological measures such as hydration, exercise and dietary fibre, and (c) considering safety, effectiveness and cost in the selection of a laxative. Generic preparations of psyllium and sorbitol can be recommended in this regard. The widespread use of stool softeners, magnesium hydroxide (‘milk of magnesia’) and stimulant laxatives is difficult to justify from the available data.
KeywordsConstipation Misoprostol Lactulose Chronic Constipation Magnesium Hydroxide
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 4.Wesselius-De Casparis S, Braadbaart S, van der Bergh-Bohlken GE, et al. Treatment of chronic constipation with lactulose syrup: results of a double-blind study. Gut 1968; 984–6Google Scholar
- 11.Hyland CM, Foran JD. Dioctyl sodium sulphosuccinate as a laxative in the elderly. J Chron Dis 1968; 200: 698–9Google Scholar
- 14.Chapman RW, Sillery J, Fontana DD, et al. Effect of oral dioctyl sodium sulphosuccinate on intake: output studies of human small and large intestine. Gastroenterol 1985; 89: 489–93Google Scholar
- 18.Sanders JF. Lactulose syrup assessed in a double-blind study of elderly constipated patients. J Am Geriatr Assoc 1978; 26: 236–9Google Scholar