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Correspondence on laxatives

Dear Bandolier

Some time ago you ran a piece on the lack of RCTs on the subject of laxative prescribing. This, and some work in a local practice, prompted Shropshire Primary Care Audit Group to conduct an audit on the subject. ( Full audit results).

Twenty-one Shropshire practices took part in a retrospective audit of prescribing of stimulant laxatives. Each practice counted the number of patients having repeat prescriptions for stimulant laxatives and then reviewed the notes of ten patients.

Prescribing rates varies from 0.1% to 4.2% of patients across the 21 practices (mostly below 1%); 1302 of 170,479 patients were taking regular stimulant laxatives, a prescribing rate of 0.76%. Half the prescribing was in people aged 71 years and older, but a small but significant proportion was in children under 16 years.

There were several pieces of good news coming from the audit:

The moral of this tale is that Bandolier obviously reaches parts other journals cannot.

Yours sincerely

Dr Jane Rees
Medical Advisor to PCAG

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