What is your best treatment for “refractory” constipation?
M. Brian Fennerty • February 10th, 2013
In treating patients with constipation, we have several options for first-line agents: bulking agents/fiber, osmotic laxatives, or stimulant laxatives. When a patient has a suboptimal result, we commonly add or move to another class of laxative agents. Fortunately, most patients respond to these interventions, but we all have patients whose condition is “refractory” to these commonly used treatments. In the last few years, newer agents to manage constipation such as lubiprostone and linaclotide have also become available. But how best to manage these patients remains unclear, at least to me. So, here’s what I would like to know from you.
What do you use as first-line treatment in a patient with constipation?
What is your add-on treatment when your first-line treatment fails?
Do you use the newer agents, and if so, when? Do you use them to substitute for another agent or add them on?
In what circumstances do you consider surgery to treat constipation?
If a colonoscopy is negative, do you routinely use other diagnostic tests in a patient with constipation?
Looking forward to hearing your management strategies.