alexa Abstract | The Clinical Challenge of Opioid-induced Constipation: Insights from the Opioid-induced Constipation Clinical Audit
ISSN: 2329-9126

Journal of General Practice
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Objective: Constipation is the most common and often most debilitating adverse effect associated with opioid use. Opioid-induced constipation persists for the duration of therapy. The aims of this clinical audit were to investigate the GP management of opioid-induced constipation, gain insights on how to improve its management and determine if the audit could improve the management of opioid-induced constipation. Methods: Using quantitative questionnaires, GPs prospectively evaluated their management of constipation in patients prescribed strong opioid analgesic for chronic non-cancer pain, across two audit cycles. The audited patients completed a quantitative survey after the initial GP visit and returned the completed survey to the GP in a sealed envelope. The patient questionnaire was used to assess consistency between patients’ and GPs’ evaluation and management of constipation. Following each cycle GPs received feedback and a decision support tool. Results: Opioid-induced constipation was reported by 50.5% of patients, but its presence was underestimated by GPs, with GPs failing to recognise opioid-induced constipation in a third of patients. GP management of opioidinduced constipation improved during the audit with improvements in the frequency of assessment and the proactive management of constipation. Conclusion: GPs need to regularly ask all patients taking opioid analgesics about the presence of constipation. Questioning should include both objective and subjective measures to assist the detection and assessment of opioidinduced constipation. The high prevalence of opioid-induced constipation necessitates proactive management at the time of opioid initiation and for the duration of opioid therapy

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Author(s): Peter Katelaris,George Krassa


Opioid-induced constipation, Constipation, Opioid, Analgesics, General practice, Clinical audit, General Medical Services,Medication,Primary Health Organisation,General Practitioner

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