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Differences in taste between two polyethylene glycol preparations.

Author(s): Szojda MM, Mulder CJ, Felt-Bersma RJ

Affiliation(s): Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Publication date & source: 2007-12, J Gastrointestin Liver Dis., 16(4):379-81.

Publication type: Comparative Study; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Polyethylene glycol preparations (PEG) are increasingly used for chronic constipation in both adults and children. There are some suggestions that PEG 4000 with orange flavour (Forlax) tastes better than PEG 3350 which contains salt (Movicolon). Poor taste is an important factor for non-compliance and is one of the leading causes of therapy failure. The aim of the study was to compare the taste of two commonly used PEG preparations, PEG 4000 and PEG 3350. METHODS: A double-blind, cross over randomised trial. A hundred people were recruited by advertisement. All tasted both preparations without swallowing and after tasting each of the preparations, they rinsed their mouths. Then a score, on a 5-point scale, was given for both preparations. RESULTS: 100 volunteers were included (27 males and 73 females, mean age 36). The taste score for PEG 4000 (mean 3.9, SD 0.7) was significantly better than for PEG 3350 (mean 2.7, SD 0.7) (p<0.0001, Wilcoxon matched pairs test). No difference in gender or age was observed. The volunteers which tasted PEG 3350 liked it more, when they tasted it first rather than when they tasted it after PEG 4000 (p<0.0001). The order in which volunteers tested PEG 4000 had no influence on the taste results. CONCLUSION: PEG 4000 tastes better than PEG 3350. This may have implications for patient compliance and effectiveness of treatment in patients with chronic constipation.

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