Glucomannan delivers limited benefits in children with constipation
Glucomannan may increase the defecation frequency of children with constipation, but it may not have such favourable effects on stool consistency and the rate of successful treatment, according to the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Researchers conducted a comprehensive electronic literature search to identify eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that assessed the effectiveness of glucomannan. The results were reported as mean differences (MDs), standardized mean differences (SMDs) and risk ratios (RRs) with 95 percent CIs.
Defecation frequency per week was the primary outcome, and the secondary outcomes were stool consistency and the rate of successful treatment. The random effects model was used to conduct the meta-analysis.
A total of three RCTs were identified, which involved 122 participants. The use of glucomannan moderately increased the frequency of defecation (3 trials; MD, 1.40; 95 percent CI, 0.36 to 2.44; p=0.008) in children with constipation.
However, no significant differences were observed in the outcomes of stool consistency (3 trials; SMD, 0.48; ‒0.44 to 1.40; p=0.300) or the rate of successful treatment (2 trials; RR, 1.36; 0.48 to 3.81; p=0.110) among participants.
The results of this study should be cautiously interpreted because of the substantial biological, methodological and statistical heterogeneity among the RCTs, according to researchers.
“Additional large-scale, well-designed RCTs on this topic are required,” they said. “The effectiveness and side effects of long-term glucomannan use among children with constipation should be examined in the future in a more systematic manner.”
Constipation is a common complaint among children and significantly affects their quality of life, researchers noted.