Standard therapy for pediatric constipation includes osmotic laxatives with stimulant laxatives use only as rescue therapy. Limited information is available on regular and long-term use of bisacodyl in pediatric population despite its common use in adult and pediatric constipation.
Retrospective review of patients with functional constipation refractory to conventional therapy (regular use of osmotic laxatives and intermittent use of stimulant laxatives only as a rescue therapy) referred to tertiary care children's hospital (January 2007–December 2014). Patients had a bowel movement (BM) frequency of ≤2 per week and were treated with bisacodyl regularly for longer than 4 weeks. Demographic variables, bisacodyl dose and treatment duration, number of BM/week before and after treatment, side effects, and length of follow-up were recorded. Response to therapy was successful when frequency of BM increased from baseline to ≥3 BM/wk.
A total of 164 patients were included, 52% girls, median age 9.45 years (0.9–21 years). Bisacodyl median dose was 5 mg/day, median duration of treatment was 14 months (1–77 months) with 90% of patients taking the medication for <36 months. Median number of BM/wk doubled after initiation of bisacodyl from 2 to 4 bm/w (P < 0.001). Approximately 57% of patients had successful response. At long-term follow-up 55% of patients were successfully weaned off bisacodyl (median time of 18 months). Side effects reported in 9% of patients.
Bisacodyl is effective and well tolerated in the long-term treatment of pediatric functional constipation refractory to conventional therapy. Most of patients with a favorable response were successfully weaned off the medication.