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American Society for Action on Pain

Author: Canty-S-L.

Title: Constipation as a side effect of opioids.

Source: Oncol-Nurs-Forum. 1994 May. 21(4). P 739-45.


Abstract: PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To describe the phenomenon of opioid- induced constipation and its treatment. DATA SOURCES: Published books and journal articles; commercial pharmacologic information. DATA SYNTHESIS: Patients receiving opioid analgesia are at risk for constipation and its complications. A number of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions are available to prevent and treat this problem.

CONCLUSIONS: Discomfort from this opioid side effect can be particularly distressing to patients with cancer who already suffer from pain. Accurate assessment and individualized interventions are needed. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Collaboration with physicians to determine appropriate drug or nondrug interventions and patient and family education regarding the problem, preventive action, and appropriate treatment methods.