Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavanaugh, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not the use of fiber can be as effective as laxatives in relieving constipation in the geriatric population.

STUDY DESIGN: Review of three journals published in English in peer-reviewed journals.

DATA SOURCES: Two randomized controlled trials and one parallel interventional trial investigating the effectiveness of supplemental dietary fiber in managing constipation in elderly populations that are presently reliant on prescription laxatives.

OUTCOMES (S) MEASURED: The outcomes were measured by the frequency of defecation, ease of bowel movement, patient discomfort, patient well being, and undesired effects of laxative use.

RESULTS: The studies demonstrated that the use of supplemental dietary fiber is an effective alternative to laxatives in managing constipation in the elderly.

CONCLUSIONS: Supplemental dietary fiber is an effective alternative to prescription laxatives in the management of constipation in the geriatric population with the correct patient population in mind.