Oral bisacodyl is effective and well-tolerated in patients with chronic constipation.

Although stimulant laxatives have been used for many years to treat patients with constipation, their clinical value has been questioned, and there have been few high-quality trials to assess their efficacy. We tested the efficacy and safety of 4 weeks of treatment with oral bisacodyl tablets in patients with chronic constipation, defined by Rome III criteria.
This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study was conducted in 27 centers in the United Kingdom. After a 2-week baseline period without study medication, patients were randomly assigned, in a 2:1 ratio, to groups that were given 10 mg bisacodyl (n = 247) or placebo (n = 121), once daily, for 4 weeks. Patients used an electronic diary each day to record information relating to their constipation.
The mean (± standard error of the mean [SEM]) number of complete spontaneous bowel movements (CSBMs) per week during the treatment period increased from 1.1 ± 0.1 in both groups to 5.2 ± 0.3 in the bisacodyl group and 1.9 ± 0.3 in the placebo group (P < .0001). All secondary end points (number of complete spontaneous bowel movements for each single week, number of spontaneous bowel movement (SBMs), and constipation-associated symptoms) differed significantly between groups, demonstrating efficacy for bisacodyl (P < .0001). Compared with baseline, there was a statistically significant improvement in the overall Patient Assessment of Constipation quality of life (PAC-QOL) score and all subscales (satisfaction, physical discomfort, psychosocial discomfort, worries and concerns) in the bisacodyl-treated patients, compared with those that received placebo (P ≤ .0070). Treatment with bisacodyl was well-tolerated.
Oral bisacodyl is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for patients with chronic constipation. It improves bowel function, constipation-related symptoms, and disease-related QOL.
AuthorsMichael A Kamm, Stefan Mueller-Lissner, Arnold Wald, Erika Richter, Ros Swallow, Ulrika Gessner
JournalClinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol) Vol. 9 Issue 7 Pg. 577-83 (Jul 2011) ISSN: 1542-7714 [Electronic] United States
PMID21440672 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Multicenter Study, Randomized Controlled Trial, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
CopyrightCopyright © 2011 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chemical References
  • Cathartics
  • Placebos
  • Bisacodyl
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bisacodyl (administration & dosage, adverse effects)
  • Cathartics (administration & dosage, adverse effects)
  • Chronic Disease
  • Constipation (drug therapy)
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Great Britain
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos (administration & dosage)
  • Treatment Outcome

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