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.