Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is often considered as the first-line treatment for functional constipation in children. Descurainia sophia
(L.) Webb et Berth (D. sophia
) is a safe recommended medicine in Iranian folk and Traditional Persian Medicine for the treatment of constipation.
To clinically compare D. sophia
with PEG 4000 (without electrolyte) in pediatric constipation and to assess its efficacy and side effects.
Patients and Methods:
120 patients aged 2 - 12 years with constipation for at least 3 months were included in an 8 weeks lasting randomized controlled trial within two parallel-groups. Children received either PEG, 0.4 g/kg/day, or D. sophia
seeds, 2 grams (for children aged 2 - 4 years) and 3 grams (for those aged > 4 years) per day.
A total of 109 patients completed the study (56 in D. sophia
and 53 in PEG group). At the end of the study, 36 (64.3%) patients in D. sophia
group and 29 (54.7%) in PEG group were out of Rome III criteria (P = 0.205). Median weekly stool frequency in 0, 1, 2, 3 weeks of the treatment was found to be 2, 5, 5, 5 in D. sophia
and 3, 4, 4, 5 in PEG group (P = 0.139, 0.076, 0.844, 0.294), respectively. The number of patients who suffered flatulence was less (5, 8.9%) in D. sophia
group as compared to PEG group (6, 11.3%) at the end of the trial (P = 0.461). D. sophia
taste was less tolerated.
Conclusions: D. sophia
is introduced as a cheap and available medication which can be applied as a safe alternative to conventional PEG in the management of pediatric chronic functional constipation.