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Polyethylene Glycol Electrolyte Solution (Isocolan) for Constipation During Pregnancy: An Observational Open-Label Study

Authors

  • Isabella Neri PhD,

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      Clinica Ostetrica, Via del Pozzo 71, 41100 Modena, Italy. E-mail: neri.Isabella@unimore.it
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    • Isabella Neri, MD, PhD, is a consultant perinatologist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

  • Immacolata Blasi MD,

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    • Immacolata Blasi, MD, is a resident in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

  • Paola Castro,

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    • Paola Castro is an undergraduate student in the School of Midwifery at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

  • Giuseppe Grandinetti MD,

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    • Giuseppe Grandinetti, MD, is a statistician in the Giuliani firm in Milan.

  • Alba Ricchi Senior Midwife,

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    • Alba Ricchi is a senior midwife in the School of Midwifery at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

  • Fabio Facchinetti MD

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    • Fabio Facchinetti, MD, is the Chairman of the School of Midwifery and Chief of the Obstetrics Unit in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.


Clinica Ostetrica, Via del Pozzo 71, 41100 Modena, Italy. E-mail: neri.Isabella@unimore.it

Abstract

To evaluate the efficacy of a polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution (PEG-4000) in pregnant women affected by constipation, 40 consecutive pregnant women from 6 to 38 weeks' gestation were enrolled in this preliminary study. Constipation was defined as spontaneous evacuation less than four times a week or the presence of symptoms such as defecation pain, rectal urgency, tenesmus, anal injury, or abdominal pain. A PEG-4000 solution (Isocolan, also marketed in the United States as Golitely/Nulitely) was administered for 15 days at a dose of 250 mL by mouth once or twice a day. The number of bowel movements per week, the presence or absence of liquid stools, tenesmus, urgency, defecation pain, anal lesions, and abdominal pain were evaluated before and after 15 days of treatment. Treatment with PEG-4000 significantly increased the evacuation episodes per week (from 1.66 ± 0.48 to 3.16 ± 1.05; P <.01), and constipation was resolved in 27 of 37 women (73%). Defecation pain, anal injury, and abdominal pain significantly improved after PEG-4000 administration. Improvement occurred in both patients with new-onset constipation during pregnancy as well as patients with a history of constipation before pregnancy. These preliminary findings indicate that PEG-4000 may be an effective choice for the treatment of constipation during pregnancy.

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