January 07, 2021
2 min read

Senna, magnesium oxide improves bowel movements in patients with constipation

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Senna and magnesium oxide both improved the frequency of bowel movements and may be effective for the treatment of constipation, according to study results.

“OTC agents are generally used next. Senna is a common stimulant laxative used in Asia to treat CIC, and [magnesium oxide] is also commonly used,” Daisuke Morishita, MD, from division of gastroenterology and hepatology, department of internal medicine, Hyogo College of Medicine, Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan, and colleagues wrote. “Anecdotal reports suggest that both can be used to treat symptoms of CIC, although neither has been studied in a prospective manner in an Asian population, and the two have never been compared directly.”

Morishita and colleagues identified 90 patients with chronic idiopathic constipation and randomly assigned them to 1 g of senna, a stimulant laxative, 1.5 g magnesium oxide or placebo for 28 consecutive days. Mean duration of symptoms was 9.9 years. Overall symptom improvement served as the primary endpoint. Other endpoints included spontaneous bowel movement, complete SBM and patient assessment of constipation quality of life.

The response rate for overall improvement in the placebo was 11.7% compared with 69.2% in the senna group and 68.3% in the magnesium oxide group (P < .0001). Change in SBM was greater in both the senna and magnesium oxide groups compared with the placebo group (P < .001). There were no severe treatment-related adverse events, according to reseachers.

“Similarly, change in complete SBM was significantly greater in the senna and [magnesium oxide] groups than that in the placebo group (P < .01),” investigators wrote.

Morshita and colleagues also reported improvements in patient assessment of constipation QoL in the senna and magnesium oxide groups vs. the placebo group (senna, P < .05; magnesium oxide, P < .001).


The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.