Opioid-induced bowel dysfunction

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2013 Sep;15(9):344. doi: 10.1007/s11894-013-0344-2.


Opioid-induced bowel dysfunction (OIBD) is a potentially debilitating side effect of chronic opioid use. It refers to a collection of primarily gastrointestinal motility disorders induced by opioids, of which opioid-induced constipation (OIC) is the most common. Management of OIBD is difficult, and affected patients will often limit their opioid intake at the expense of experiencing more pain, to reduce the negative impact of OIBD on their quality of life. Effective pharmacologic therapy for OIC is considered an unmet need and several agents have recently been given priority review and approval for OIC. Furthermore, multiple agents currently in development show promise in treating OIC without significant impact on analgesia or precipitation of withdrawal symptoms. The approval and availability of such medications would represent a significant improvement in the management of OIC and OIBD in patients with chronic pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Pain / drug therapy
  • Constipation / chemically induced*
  • Constipation / drug therapy
  • Drug Substitution
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Laxatives / therapeutic use
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Laxatives