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  1. Werth, Barry L. BPharm(Hons)
  2. Williams, Kylie A. PhD, BPharm, Dip Hosp Pharm
  3. Pont, Lisa G. PhD, BSc, BPharm


The objectives of this study were to (1) determine the prevalence of laxative use and self-reported constipation and (2) identify risk factors associated with constipation in a community-dwelling elderly population. A retrospective cross-sectional survey using data from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing was used to explore laxative use and constipation in a cohort of community-dwelling older persons. The prevalence of laxative use was 15% and the prevalence of self-reported constipation was 21%. Females were more likely to report constipation and use laxatives. Of those using laxatives, men were more likely to have their laxatives prescribed by a doctor whereas women were more likely to self-medicate. Poor self-rated health and a higher need for assistance with activities of daily living were identified as risk factors for constipation. Constipation is a common condition affecting the community-dwelling elderly. There is a need to optimize the management of constipation and use of laxatives in such populations.