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New study debunks myths about chronic constipation 2005-01-12
By Xinhua


Evidence Challenges Widespread Current Beliefs on the Treatment of Constipation
11 Jan 2005

New Evidence Highlights the Myths Surrounding Laxatives and Supports Their Use in Early Stages of Constipation -
A new independent review published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology,1 has revealed that widespread long-held beliefs for the treatment of chronic constipation are incorrect and unsubstantiated.
The Myths & Misconceptions About Chronic Constipation paper - written by four leading international experts in the field of gastroenterology - reveals that treatment practices, such as increasing fibre intake, fluid and exercise are not always the most effective methods of alleviating the symptoms of chronic constipation. Yet the release of new data from an UK inquiry has revealed that two thirds of the general public would increase fibre intake in the first instance to cure a bout of constipation.2
The paper also highlights that many widely held assumptions are not based on hard fact or medical evidence. One of the key learnings from this is that diet and lifestyle alone should not be assumed to be the cause of constipation in general. Although for some people a diet rich in fibre may be helpful, the authors conclude that in many people with more severe constipation, increasing fibre intake can make symptoms even worse, and that increased fluid intake has not been shown to provide significant relief except in people where there is evidence of dehydration.1
Professor Müller-Lissner, lead author of The Myths & Misconceptions About Chronic Constipation paper, comments, “Constipation is a widespread and sensitive disorder. Many sufferers often feel guilty and responsible for their symptoms, believing that their lifestyle is to blame. This review provides both sufferers and healthcare professionals with strong and legitimate foundations to remove these feelings of guilt.”
The use of laxatives is an area of apparent confusion, which has been mistakenly associated with a number of unsubstantiated claims over the years. Reviewers found that many of these claims are unfounded and state that laxative use is unlikely to cause damage to the colon and it is uncommon for most laxative users to develop a loss of effect (tolerance), contrary to widely held beliefs.1
The inquiry into the views of the UK population identified that many people will often opt for a ‘traditional' method of dealing with constipation because of specific concerns about treating constipation with OTC medications, such as laxatives. 52% stated they are worried about taking a laxative treatment, due to concerns that it may have an immediate effect and they will end up with the opposite problem!2 One in three people are also concerned that laxatives are a harsh form of treatment. 2
GP Dr Rob Hicks commented: ‘This paper is very interesting indeed. For years, healthcare professionals and sufferers alike have assumed that increasing fluid, fibre, and exercise will automatically help relieve symptoms of chronic constipation and have been hesitant about using laxatives. This new review of evidence could change the way people view the causes and treatment of constipation.'
When considering the treatment of constipation with laxatives, the Dulcolax® range of laxatives is gentle and effective, working in harmony with your body to restart your natural rhythm and relieve constipation. A unique Comfort Coating ensures the tablets act locally where needed, in the large bowel.3,4 Dulcolax is clinically proven to be a safe4,5,6 and effective treatment for constipation6-9 even used, if advised, over the long-term.10
Over 70% of people surveyed stated that they would like control over the strength of the dose, so that only the minimum needed to be effective can be taken.2 Ducolax Perles' unique format allows for flexible dosage, taking between two and four capsules according to individual needs, making Perles ideal for most constipation sufferers.
Dulcolax Perles contains sodium picosulfate. Dulcolax Tablets & suppositories contain bisacodyl. Always read the label. Ask your pharmacist for advice.
- Ends -
Notes to Editors
For further information please contact:
Katy Simpson or Vanessa Leon
Virgo HEALTH PR, 020 8822 6707, katy.simpson@virgohealthpr.com
1 Müller-Lissner SA, Kamm MA, Scarpignato C, Wald A. Myths and Misconceptions About Chronic Constipation. American Journal of Gastroenterology January 2005; www.amjgastro.com
2 Constipation Onlinebus 2004. TNS Research (data on file)
3 Voderholzer W, Morena M-A, Schindlbeck N, et al. The influence of bisacodyl on human colon motility in vitro. Gastroenterology 2000;118 (4), Suppl 2, Part 1, A838.
4 Kienzle-Horn S, von Behren V, Berger S et al. Comparative safety and efficacy of bisacodyl versus sodium picosulphate in the long-term treatment of chronic constipation (data on file)
6 American Gastroenterological Association. American Gastroenterological Association Medical Position Statement: Guidelines on Constipation. Gastroenterology 2001;119:1761-1778.
7 Schiller LR. Review article: the therapy of constipation. Ailment Pharmacol Ther 2001;15:749-763.
8 Müller-Lissner SA, Beil W et al. Modern therapy with Laxatives. Uni-Med Verlag, Bremen, 2001.
9 American Food and Drug Administration. Tentative monograph Part 334 - Laxative drug products for over-the-counter human use. Federal Register 1985;50(10):2151-2158.
10 Ruidisch M, Hutt H-J, König E. Long-term laxative treatment with bisacodyl. Aerztliche Forschung 1994;41:1-8.

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