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Table 1 Summary of the included studies

From: Comparison of the effectiveness of polyethylene glycol with and without electrolytes in constipation: a systematic review and network meta-analysis

Study Total (N) Length of study Constipation type Baseline stool frequency (SD) Concomitant laxative use Age mean (SD) years Gender (% male) Polyethylene glycol formulation and daily dose Polyethylene glycol (N) Comparator and daily dose Comparator (N)
Andorsky RI 1990 [12] 37 2 × 5 days Chronic 87.5 % ≤ 2 stools/week Continued use of fibre and bulk-forming agents. Laxatives or enemas for treatment failure: P = 12.5 %, C = 18.8 % P1: 62 P1: 25 % PEG3350 + E High dose 16 Placebo 16
P2: 58 P2: 19 % High dose 16 oz Low dose 16
Low dose 8 oz
Attar A 1999 [13] 115 4 weeks Chronic Not specified Suppositories, micro-enemas allowed. Any use: P = 16 %, C = 34 % P: 55 (24) P: 15 % PEG3350 + E 60 Lactulose 55
C: 55 (22) C: 22 % 13–39 g 10–30 g
Awad RA 2010 [14] 47 30 days Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C) P: 1.3 (0.6) Not allowed. P: 1 use of glycerine suppository P: 30.7 (8) 12 % PEG3350 23 Placebo 24
C: 1.5 (0.7) C: 1 use of enema C: 36.5 (10)   10.35 g
Bouhnik Y 2004 [15] 65 28 days Chronic, idiopathic 85 % < 3 stools/week Suppositories, enemas allowed during washout, stopped 48 hours before baseline. 9 % of patients took concomitant treatment at study entry and all were stopped 57 (18) 14 % PEG4000 10–30 g 32 Lactulose 10–30 g 33
Chapman RW 2013 [16] 139 28 days Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C) P: 1.28 (0.912) Rescue medication bisacodyl if no bowel movement for 3 consecutive days. Mean No. weekly rescue doses: P = 0.30, C = 0.44 41.3 (14.8) 17 % PEG3350 + E 68 Placebo 71
C: 1.37 (0.849) 13.8–41.4 g
Chaussade S 2003 [17] 266 2 weeks Chronic, idiopathic P(H): 2.0 (0.9) Rescue medication suppository if no bowel movement for 3 consecutive days. Stools post-suppository use were not included in study results 52.2 (18.5) 15 % PEG3350 + E High dose 69 PEG4000 High dose 20 g High dose 67
P(L): 2.2 (1.3) High dose 11.8 g Low dose 69 Low dose 10 g Low dose 65
Low dose 5.9 g
C(H): 2.4 (1.7)
C(L): 1.8 (1.0)
Cinca R 2013 [18] 240 2 weeks Chronic P: 0.7 (0.8) Rescue medication ducosate micro-enema if no bowel movement for 3 consecutive days. Use of micro-enema: P = 0.8 %, C = 3.4 % P: 40.0 (14.5) 0 % PEG335 0 + E 120 Prucalopride 1–2 mg (serotonin [5-HT4] agonist) 116
C: 0.7 (0.8) C: 40.5 (13.2) 13.71–27.42 g
Cleveland MV 2001 [19] 23 2 × 2 weeks History of constipation 2.6 (1.75) Not allowed 47.7 4 % PEG3350 10.35 g 23 Placebo 23
Corazziari E 1996 [20] 55 4 weeks Chronic P: 2.2 (0.5) Rescue medication, laxatives if no bowel movement for 5 consecutive days. Use of laxatives: P = 16 %, C = 48 % 41.8 (14.8) P: 32 % PEG4000 + E 17.5 g 25 Placebo 23
C: 1.9 (0.8) C: 13 %
Corazziari E 2000 [21] 70 20 weeks Chronic P: 1.53 (1.35) Rescue medication, laxatives if no bowel movement for 5 consecutive days. Use of laxatives was less frequent in PEG + E than placebo (P < 0.001) 43 (15) 17 % PEG4000 + E 35 g 33 Placebo 37
C: 1.29 (1.04)
Di Palma JA 1999 [22] AM: 50 LT 35 10 days Reported constipation Not specified Not allowed AM: 36.2 AM: 6 % PEG3350 AM high dose: 50 Placebo AM: 50
LT: 75.7 LT: 46 % AM high dose: 34 g AM low dose: 50 LT: 17
AM low dose: 17 g LT high dose: 17
LT high dose: 12 g LT low dose: 17
LT low dose: 6 g
Di Palma JA 2000 [23] 151 14 days History of constipation Not specified Not allowed 45.2 13 % PEG3350 17 g 80 Placebo 71
Di Palma JA 2007A [24] 100 4 Weeks Secondary to medications Not specified Fibre or other laxatives not allowed 58 26 % PEG3350 17 g 46 Placebo 46
Di Palma JA 2007B [25] 304 6 months Chronic P: 86.5 % < 3 stools/week Fibre not allowed. Rescue medication bisacodyl if no bowel movement for 4 consecutive days. Mean use of bisacodyl 5 mg: P = 2.8, C = 3.9 tablets/week 53 15 % PEG3350 17 g 202 Placebo 100
C: 94.4 % < 3 stools/week
Di Palma JA 2007C [26] 237 28 days Chronic 100 % < 3 stools/week Fibre not allowed. Rescue medication bisacodyl if no bowel movement for 4 consecutive days. Mean use of bisacodyl 5 mg: P = 1.4, C = 1.0 tablets/week 46 10 % PEG3350 17 g 118 Tegaserod 12 mg (serotonin [5-HT4] agonist) 116
Freedman MD 1997 [27] 57 3 × 2 weeks Opioid-induced Not specified Additional milk of magnesia or bisacodyl allowed. No difference in use between PEG + E and lactulose Range 18–50 Not specified PEG3350 + E 14 g 57 Placebo Lactulose 30 mL Placebo 57
Lactulose 57
Klauser AG 1995 [28] 8 2 × 6 weeks Chronic Median 3 Sodium picosulfate was allowed except for the last week of each study period. Median drops per day: P = 0, C = 4 46 (4) 0 % PEG4000 60 g 8 Placebo 8
Seinela L 2009 [29] 65 4 weeks Chronic functional P: 9.3 Continued use of Plantago ovata seeds was allowed. Rescue medication bisacodyl 10 mg suppository if no bowel movement for 3 consecutive days. Use of suppositories: PEG + E = 12.5 % 86 34 % PEG4000 + E 6–24 g 32 PEG4000 6–24 g 30
C: 8.4
PEG = 3.3 %
Wang H 2005 [30] 126 2 weeks Chronic functional P: 1.18 (0.77) Not allowed P: 51. 2 (14.8) 40 % PEG3350 + E 27.6 g 63 Isphagula husk 7 g (bulk forming) 63
C: 1.33 (0.68) C: 50.0 (17.1)
Zangaglia R 2007 [31] 57 8 weeks History of constipation amongst Parkinson’s Disease P: 1.9 (0.56) Rescue medication, rectal laxatives. Use of rectal laxatives: P = 4.3 % week 4 & 0 % week 8 71.0 (6.5) 60 % PEG4000 + E 7.3–21.9 g 29 Placebo 28
C: 2.0 (0.6) C = 9.5 % week 4 & 12.5 % week 8
  1. P Polyethylene glycol group, C Comparator group, AM Ambulatory healthy outpatients, LT Long term, H High dose, L Low dose