Objective: To investigate the efficacy and cost effectiveness of an herbal tea, Smooth Move, in nursing home residents with chronic constipation.
Design: Double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-armed, parallel-group clinical trial.
Setting: A 483-bed nursing home in Allentown, Pennsylvania, operated by Lehigh County Government.
Participants: A total of 86 nursing home residents with chronic constipation.
Interventions: Participants (n = 86) were randomly assigned to receive Smooth Move (n = 42) or a placebo (n = 44), once daily, in addition to standard treatment for chronic constipation. The study period was 28 days.
Measurements: The primary efficacy parameter was the difference in total number of bowel movements. Secondary parameters included the difference in average number of standard treatment doses dispensed, and the difference in total medication costs.
Results: Compared to placebo, in the intention to treat (ITT analysis) there was a statistically significant increase in the number of bowel movements in the Smooth Move group. The Smooth Move group (n = 42) compared with the placebo group (n = 44) experienced an average of 4.14 more bowel movements during the 28-day study period versus the 28-day pre-study period (P = .017).
Conclusion: Smooth Move herbal tea, when added to the standard treatment regimen for nursing home residents with chronic constipation, increased the average number of bowel movements compared to the addition of a placebo tea.