Laxatives are supplements used to loosen the stools in order to increase bowel movements.  These are used in order to treat constipation. They are used to treat the passage of small amounts of hard and dry stools. Laxatives are generally taken three times a week.  They are preferred as medication when remedies such as increase in fiber diet, drinking plenty of water and regular exercise have not helped to cure constipation. Occasional constipation is often treated without laxatives. Laxatives are available as OTC drugs without the need of prescriptions. Although laxatives are present in the market for a longer period of time there is insufficient evidence available about the efficacy of laxatives over each other. Adults usually don’t require prescription for consumption of laxatives as they are easily available as OTC drugs. In children laxatives are only advised to be taken through prescription. The nature of laxatives depends on whether it degenerates the nerves in the intestine or dulling the natural response that will stimulate the peristalsis movement.

The laxative market can be segmented according to the route of administration, types of laxatives, by type of product, distribution channel and geography. According to route of administration the market is segmented is into oral and rectal. According to the types of laxatives the market is segmented into bulk forming laxatives, osmotic laxatives, stimulant laxatives and stool softener laxatives. Bulk forming laxatives show their effect after 12-24 hours of administration, osmotic laxatives such as lactulose show their effect after 2-3 days of administration, stimulant laxatives usually work within 6-12 hours of administration and stool softener laxatives work within 12 to 72 hours of administration. According to type of product the laxatives are segmented according to dosage form such as tablets, capsules, powder, suppositories, liquids and gels According to distribution channel the market is segmented into retail pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, drug store and online pharmacies. Geographically, the laxatives market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East and Africa.

Constipation has become one of the major problems amongst the majority population due to sedentary life style. Sedentary life style includes unhealthy eating habits, less hours of sleep, irregular meal timings and lack of exercise which causes gastric imbalance which can further lead to constipation. This is the major driving factor for the growth of laxative market in the forecast period. Obesity is also a major factor responsible for constipation, hence rising obese cases are one the major reason for the growth of laxative market.  Few of the restraints in the laxative market can be due to the side effects of laxatives which are bloating, flatulence, abdominal cramps, feeling sick and dehydration. The side effects caused are generally not taken into more consideration as the constipation itself is a troublesome condition. Use of laxatives as in treatment of obesity has also been one of the restraining factor for the laxative market.

Geographically the laxative market is segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Middle East and Africa. U.S. and Canada been the largest market for laxatives due to more sedentary life style in these area. Countries such as India, Australia and New Zealand are the largest market for laxatives as the lifestyle disorders are very common in these areas due to high dependence of unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and sedentary life. Europe and Latin America are also are also promising markets in the coming forecast period due to lifestyle changes in these areas and rising gastrointestinal problems. Middle East and Africa are the emerging markets for laxatives as the rising lifestyle changes can increase the usage of laxatives in the forecast period.

The leading players in the laxative market are Bayer AG, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, Procter & Gamble Company, Purdue Pharma, Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc.  

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