Management of constipation in patients with Parkinson's disease

NPJ Parkinsons Dis. 2018 Mar 16;4:6. doi: 10.1038/s41531-018-0042-8. eCollection 2018.


A considerable body of research has recently emerged around nonmotor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD) and their substantial impact on patients' well-being. A prominent example is constipation which occurs in up to two thirds of all PD-patients thereby effecting psychological and social distress and consequently reducing quality of life. Despite the significant clinical relevance of constipation, unfortunately little knowledge exists on effective treatments. Therefore this systematic review aims at providing a synopsis on clinical effects and safety of available treatment options for constipation in PD. For this purpose, three electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO) were searched for experimental and quasi-experimental studies investigating the efficacy/effectiveness of interventions in the management of PD-associated constipation. Besides, adverse events were analyzed as secondary outcome. In total, 18 publications were identified involving 15 different interventions, of which none can be attributed sufficient evidence to derive strong recommendations. Nevertheless, some evidence indicates that dietetic interventions with probiotics and prebiotics may reduce symptom burden while providing a very favorable side-effects profile. Furthermore, the use of lubiprostone, macrogol and in the specific case of isolated or prominent outlet obstruction constipation injections of botulinum neurotoxin A into the puborectal muscles may as well be moderately supported. In summary, too little attention has been paid to treatment options for constipation in PD leaving abundant room for further research addressing this topic.

Publication types

  • Review