Randomized Clinical Trial: Dried plums/prunes vs. Psyllium for Constipation

JOURNAL: Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2011; 33: 822-28.

AUTHORS: Attaluri A, Donahoe R, Valestin J, Brown and Rao SSC.

Although dried plums/prunes and prune juice have been traditionally used for the treatment of constipation, dried plums have not been systematically assessed in patients with well-defined constipation. This study investigated and compared the effects of dried plums and psyllium in patients with chronic constipation.
Forty constipated subjects (m/f = 3/37, mean age = 38 y) participated in an 8-week, single-blind, randomized cross-over study. Participants received dried plums (50 g b.d, 6 gm fiber/d) or psyllium (11 g b.d., 6 gm fiber/d) for 3 weeks each, in a crossover trial with a 1-week washout period.  Participants maintained a daily symptom and stool diary. Assessments included number of complete spontaneous bowel movements per week, global relief of constipation, stool consistency, straining, tolerability and taste.
The number of complete spontaneous bowel movements per week (primary outcome measure) and stool consistency scores improved significantly.