A comparison of cathartics in pediatric ingestions.

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: To compare the mean time to first stool, number of stools, and side effects of three commonly used cathartics in pediatric ingestions. DESIGN: This prospective clinical trial was a randomized, double-blinded comparison of sorbitol, magnesium citrate, magnesium sulfate, and water, administered with activated charcoal in the treatment of pediatric patients 1 to 5 years of age with acute ingestions. Outcome parameters were mean time to first stool, mean number of stools during 24 hours, and side effects. RESULTS: One hundred sixteen patients completed the study. Significant differences in mean time to the first stool were detected among cathartic agents (F = 9.29), with sorbitol-treated patients having a shortest mean time to the first stool (mean, 8.48 hours). Sorbitol produced a significantly higher number of stools (mean, 2.79) in the 24-hour follow-up period than other cathartics (F = 3.49). The most common side effect of cathartic administration was emesis, which occurred more commonly in sorbitol-treated patients. CONCLUSION: Sorbitol, when administered with activated charcoal in the treatment of children with acute ingestions, produced a shorter time to first stool and more stools than magnesium citrate, magnesium sulfate, or water.
  • Published In

  • Pediatrics  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Cathartics, Charcoal, Child, Preschool, Citrates, Citric Acid, Defecation, Double-Blind Method, Feces, Follow-Up Studies, Gastrointestinal Motility, Humans, Infant, Magnesium Sulfate, Poisoning, Prospective Studies, Sorbitol, Sorption Detoxification, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome, Vomiting
  • Pubmed Id

  • 15169623
  • Author List

  • James LP; Nichols MH; King WD
  • Start Page

  • 235
  • End Page

  • 238
  • Volume

  • 96
  • Issue

  • 2 Pt 1