Laxatives or methylnaltrexone for the management of constipation in palliative care patients


Palliative care patients commonly experience constipation as a result of the use of medications for pain control, and caused by the effects of disease, dietary and mobility factors. The Authors of this Cochrane Review aimed to determine the effectiveness of laxatives for the management of constipation in palliative care patients.

The Authors published a Cochrane Review on the same subject in 2006, but were unable to come to any conclusion because of the limited evidence available.

For this updated Cochrane Review, the Authors identified seven studies, involving 616 people, and the following drugs: lactulose, senna, danthron combined with poloxamer, misrakasneham and magnesium hydroxide combined with liquid paraffin. Methylnaltrexone, a drug only recently licensed, was also evaluated.

source: cochrane library