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Review
, 2 (1), 31-7

Opioid-induced Bowel Dysfunction: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Initial Therapeutic Approach

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Review

Opioid-induced Bowel Dysfunction: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Initial Therapeutic Approach

Spencer Dorn et al. Am J Gastroenterol Suppl.

Abstract

Opioids affect motor and sensory function throughout the gastrointestinal tract, and are frequently associated with a number of gastrointestinal symptoms including constipation, which impairs the quality of life and may limit the dose of opioid or result in discontinuation altogether. Patients with opioid-induced constipation should be assessed by careful history and physical examination, and in some cases where the diagnosis is unclear with select diagnostic tests. Few clinical studies have been conducted to assess the efficacy of various treatments. However, it is generally recommended that first-line therapy begin with opioid rotation, as well as with low-cost and low-risk approaches such as lifestyle changes, consumption of fiber-rich food, stool softeners, and laxatives.

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