Introduction: One of the most common undesired effects of analgesic opioid use and addiction is constipation. Numerous pharmacologic agents have been used to treat opioid-induced bowel hypomotility with limited success. Methylnaltrexone bromide (MNTX) selectively targets the peripheral adverse effects of opioids while preserving the central analgesic effects of opioid agonist treatment.
Case: While it is indicated for use in nonsurgical patients in the palliative care setting, here we report the use of MNTX for the alleviation of postoperative ileus in a heroin user with recurrent cervical cancer undergoing diverting colostomy and urinary conduit placement.
Conclusions: Results suggest that MNTX may accelerate postoperative gastrointestinal recovery in opioid-dependent patients. Further studies are warranted to evaluate its role in the pharmacologic management of postoperative ileus.