Christopher V. Almario, MD: Treatment and Prevalence of Opioid-Induced Constipation


Patients with opioid-induced constipation had more frequent, painful constipation symptoms, compared to those with chronic idiopathic constipation.

Data presented at 2021 Digestive Disease Week (DDW) Virtual Meeting, show opioid use is effective in pain management, but may lead to lower quality of life and adverse events, including opioid-induced constipation (OIC)

A team of investigators, led by Christopher V. Almario, MD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, used data from the National GI Survey II to determine the prevalence and burden of illness in patients with Rome IV chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC), opioid-exacerbated constipation (OEC), and OIC.

The team found that 6.7% of patients in the study experienced CIC, with 2.1% of patients experiencing OIC and 0.5% of patients experiencing OEC.

In an interview with HCPLive, Almario noted that patients with OIC and OEC experienced more frequent and painful constipation symptoms, compared to patients with CIC.

“In our specific study, we found that patients with OIC have more severe symptoms, more severe constipation than those who have chronic idiopathic constipation, they are also more likely to be requiring prescription therapies to treat constipation,” Almario said.

Almario noted a need for continued efforts in reducing opioid prescribing and embracing new methods of care, in collaboration between the clinician and patient during treatment.

“Ultimately, at the end of the day, these conditions are treatable, so we can educate people in the community to seek care appropriately so we can treat them for these conditions that have many effective therapies, all in an effort to improve their quality of life,” Almario said.

The study was supported by a grant from Ironwood Pharmaceuticals to Cedars-Sinai.

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