Managing Opioid-Induced Constipation

Constipation is a frequent side effect of opioids since these agents decrease peristaltic activity in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Because of the mechanisms involved in opioid-induced constipation, some treatments that may be applicable for common, functional constipation are inappropriate for ambulatory-care patients prescribed opioid analgesics. Also in these patients, the distress of constipation may add to the discomfort already present from pain, and they might decrease or discontinue the opioid to avoid constipation. So, motivating such patients to comply with their opioid therapy also requires a special approach for managing constipation.


Author(s) Goodheart, C.R., Leavitt, S.B.
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