Lubricant versus laxative in the treatment of chronic functional constipation of children: a comparative study

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1982;1(2):223-6. doi: 10.1097/00005176-198201020-00012.


The efficacy of two medications commonly used in treatment of chronic functional constipation of children (CFC) was compared. Thirty-seven children (aged 3-12 years) with typical CFC were assigned at random to treatment with mineral oil or standardized senna concentrate (Senokot). The results of follow-up evaluations at 1, 3, and greater than 6 months indicate that symptom control (fecal soiling and decreased stool frequency) was significantly better in mineral-oil-treated patients. At least one recurrence of symptoms occurred in 66% of mineral-oil-treated and 89% of Senokot-treated patients. However, recurrences appeared later and less frequently in mineral-oil-treated patients. After 6 months, 55% of those treated with mineral oil had successfully discontinued regular medication. After 6 months, only 22% of Senokot-treated patients had successfully discontinued medication, while an additional 33% had stopped taking medication because of poor symptom control.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Constipation / therapy*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mineral Oil / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Recurrence
  • Senna Extract / therapeutic use*


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Senna Extract
  • Mineral Oil