Efficacy and optimal dose of daily polyethylene glycol 3350 for treatment of constipation and encopresis in children

J Pediatr. 2001 Sep;139(3):428-32. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2001.117002.


Objective: To determine efficacy, safety, and optimal dose of a laxative, polyethylene glycol (PEG) 3350, in children with chronic constipation.

Study design: Children with chronic constipation (n = 24) were treated with PEG for 8 weeks at an initial dose of 1 g/kg/d. The dose was adjusted every 3 days as required to achieve 2 soft stools per day. A diary was kept to monitor dose, stool frequency and consistency, soiling, and other symptoms. Stool consistency was rated from 1 (hard) to 5 (watery). Subjects were examined for fecal retention. The Student t test and the Fisher exact test were used for data analysis.

Results: All 20 children who completed the study found PEG to be palatable and were satisfied with the treatment. There were no significant adverse effects. Weekly stool frequency increased from 2.3 +/- 0.4 to 16.9 +/- 1.6 (P <.0001) during treatment and stool consistency from 1.2 +/- 0.1 to 3.3 +/- 0.1 (P <.0001). In 9 children with soiling, weekly soiling events declined from 10.0 +/- 2.4 to 1.3 +/- 0.7 (P =.003). The mean effective dose was 0.84 g/kg/d (range, 0.27-1.42 g/kg/d).

Conclusion: Daily administration of PEG at a mean dose of 0.8 g/kg is an effective, safe, and palatable treatment for constipation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Conference
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cathartics / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Constipation / drug therapy
  • Defecation / drug effects
  • Encopresis / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use*


  • Cathartics
  • Polyethylene Glycols