Differences in taste between three polyethylene glycol preparations: a randomized double-blind study
Tze J Lam, Chris JJ Mulder, Richelle JF Felt-Bersma
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Background and aim: Patients suffering from chronic constipation require long-term, regular therapy with laxatives. Literature regarding patient preference and acceptance in polyethylene glycol preparations is scarce. Therefore, this research aimed to identify preference between the three polyethylene glycol 3350, namely Molaxole®, Movicol®, and Laxtra Orange®. Furthermore, taste is one of the most important factors leading to patients’ adherence, particularly when the treatment lasts for a long time.
Methods: In this randomized, cross-over double-blind study, 100 volunteers were recruited by advertisement. The volunteers were invited to taste the preparations and grade the taste using a five-point hedonic scale (extremely poor taste  to extremely good taste ). The volunteers were then asked to choose the most palatable preparation.
Results: One hundred volunteers with a mean age of 35 years (range 20–61) were randomized (76 females). Molaxole®, Movicol®, and Laxtra Orange® had a mean hedonic score of 2.76 (SD: 0.82), 2.81 (SD: 0.76) and 3.12 (SD: 0.82) respectively. The hedonic taste score for Laxtra Orange® was significantly better than Molaxole® (P = 0.001) and Movicol® (P = 0.001). No difference was found between Molaxole® and Movicol® (P = 0.61). Molaxole® was the most preferred preparation for 19 volunteers (19%), Movicol® for 24 volunteers (25%) and Laxtra Orange® for 55 volunteers (56%). Two volunteers had no preference. The order in which volunteers tested the preparations had no influence on the taste results. No significant differences in age or gender were observed.
Conclusion: Laxtra Orange® was most palatable preparation. This may have implications for adherence in patients with chronic constipation.
Keywords: constipation, polyethylene glycol, laxative, macrogol, molaxole, movicol, laxtra, medication adherence
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