Safety of polyethylene glycol 3350 for the treatment of chronic constipation in children

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003 Jul;157(7):661-4. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.157.7.661.


Objectives: To assess the clinical and biochemical safety profile of long-term polyethylene glycol 3350 (PEG) therapy in children with chronic constipation and to assess pediatric patient acceptance of PEG therapy.

Design: Prospective observational study.

Setting: Pediatric clinics at a referral center. Patients Eighty-three children (44 with chronic constipation, 39 with constipation and encopresis) receiving PEG therapy for more than 3 months.

Main outcome measures: Clinical adverse effects related to PEG therapy and acceptance and compliance with PEG therapy. Serum electrolyte levels, osmolality, albumin levels, and liver and renal function test results were measured.

Results: At the time of evaluation, the mean duration of PEG therapy was 8.7 months, and the mean PEG dose was 0.75 g/kg daily. There were no major clinical adverse effects. All blood test results were normal, except for transient minimal alanine aminotransferase elevation unrelated to therapy in 9 patients. All children preferred PEG to previously used laxatives, and daily compliance was measured as good in 90% of children.

Conclusions: Long-term PEG therapy is safe and is well accepted by children with chronic constipation with and without encopresis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Cathartics / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Constipation / drug therapy*
  • Encopresis / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Cathartics
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Alanine Transaminase