A multinational survey of prevalence and patterns of laxative use among adults with self-defined constipation
Article first published online: 17 JUL 2008
© 2008 Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Volume 28, Issue 7, pages 917–930, October 2008
How to Cite
WALD, A., SCARPIGNATO, C., MUELLER-LISSNER, S., KAMM, M. A., HINKEL, U., HELFRICH, I., SCHUIJT, C. and MANDEL, K. G. (2008), A multinational survey of prevalence and patterns of laxative use among adults with self-defined constipation. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 28: 917–930. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2008.03806.x
- Issue published online: 1 SEP 2008
- Article first published online: 17 JUL 2008
- Publication data Submitted 27 March 2008 First decision 6 April 2008 Resubmitted 26 June 2008 Accepted 14 July 2008 Epub Accepted Article 17 July 2008
Background While numerous studies report prevalence of constipation, use of laxatives is poorly understood.
Aim To conduct a survey in seven countries evaluating prevalence of constipation and laxative use in its treatment.
Methods Thirteen thousand eight hundred seventy-nine adults [approximately 2000 each from US, UK, Germany (GE), France (FR), Italy (IT), Brazil (BR) and South Korea (SK)] completed questionnaires assessing occurrence, frequency, duration and laxative use for treating constipation.
Results Overall, 12.3% of adults had constipation [range: 5% (GE) to 18% (US)] in the prior year. A greater percent of women from all countries and elderly from all except SK and BR reported constipation; odds ratios for constipation among women and elderly were 2.43 (95% CI: 2.18–2.71) and 1.5 (95% CI: 1.25–1.73) vs. men and young subjects. Among those with constipation, 16% (SK) to 40% (US) used laxatives. Laxative use was generally associated with increasing age, symptom frequency and lower income and education. A similar percentage of men and women with constipation reported using laxatives; a greater percentage of women used laxatives for a longer time.
Conclusions Prevalence of self-defined constipation and laxative use varies among countries. Prevalence is generally related to gender and age, whereas laxative use is related to age, but not to gender.