Polyethylene Glycol for Constipation in Children Younger Than Eighteen Months Old

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Background:Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is a safe and effective treatment for constipation in children older than 18 months. Data on its safety and efficacy in infants are lacking. The goal of this study was to determine safety, efficacy, and optimal dose of polyethylene glycol powder for treatment of constipation in patients younger than 18 months.Methods:The authors reviewed the charts of patients younger than 18 months treated with PEG 3350 for constipation. The initial dose, effective maintenance dose, response to therapy, duration of therapy, and side effects were recorded.Results:Twenty-eight patients younger than 18 months of age treated with PEG were identified (3, age 0–5 months; 9, age 6–11 months; 16, age 12–17 months). Mean duration of therapy was 6.2 ± 5 months (range, 3 weeks–21 months). Mean initial dose was 0.88 g/kg/day (range, 0.26–2.14 g/kg/day). Mean effective maintenance dose was 0.78 g/kg/day (range, 0.26–1.26 g/kg/day). PEG relieved constipation in 97.6% of patients. One infant experienced increased gas per rectum and four others experienced transient diarrhea that resolved after adjusting the dose.Conclusion:Oral powdered polyethylene glycol at a maintenance dose of 0.78 g/kg/day is safe and effective for patients younger than 18 months. Dose and safety profiles are similar for those reported in older children.

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