Systematic review of the effectiveness of laxatives in the elderly

Petticrew M, Watt I, Sheldon T
Record ID 31998008184
Authors' objectives:

To determine the effectiveness and cost of laxatives in the prevention and treatment of constipation in the elderly.

Authors' recommendations: There have been few comparative studies, and the trials have been so small, that it is difficult to determine what constitutes effective treatment of constipation in the elderly. The majority of trials have been carried out in hospitals and nursing homes so there has been no adequate assessment of the effectiveness of laxatives in elderly people living in the community who are likely to be younger and more mobile. There have been few direct comparisons between different classes of laxatives and between different types of laxative within classes. The cost of treatment with laxatives varies widely. Some of the most expensive laxatives, in particular, are also becoming the most widely used, without the danthron laxatives, evidence that they are more effective. Much additional research is therefore needed to determine the most cost-effective method of treating constipation in the elderly.
Project Status: Completed
URL for project:
Year Published: 1997
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England, United Kingdom
MeSH Terms
  • Aged
  • Cathartics
  • Constipation
Organisation Name: NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health and Care Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
Contact Name:
Contact Email:
Copyright: 2009 Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.