AbstractBackground and aimsReal-life data on laxative use in patients suffering from opioid-induced constipation (OIC) are very limited, and many OIC patients are only using over the counter laxatives to resolve their constipation. Our aim was to describe laxative utilization and quality of life in participants in Norway who ever experienced OIC.MethodsThis was a cross-sectional online survey conducted between 27th of June and 3rd of July 2014 among participants above 18 years with self-reported OIC and who had agreed to receive information from the pharmacy chain (Boots A/S, Norway). The questionnaire comprised a series of multiple choice, close-ended, and free text questions on abdominal symptoms, laxative use and health-related quality of life.ResultsA total of 417 participants met the study eligibility criteria: (1) treated with opioid for a minimum of 4 weeks, (2) actively accepted participation, and (3) confirmed ever experiencing OIC and in addition completed the survey. Among the eligible participants, 86% were females, 85% were younger than 60 years of age, and 57% were currently suffering OIC. More than half of the currently constipated participants were experiencing moderate to very severe abdominal bloating (63%), abdominal pain (55%) and/or pain during bowel movement (50%). Less than every fourth participant (23%) had consulted health care professionals (HCPs) about their constipation. Up to 39% reported that they handled their OIC by self-management, e.g., bought laxative, reduced the dose and/or changed opioid without consulting HCP or pharmacy. Less than half (48%) of the laxative users were satisfied with the laxative they were using to relieve their constipation. The EQ-5D health-related quality of life score was mean (SD): 0.587 (0.272). Although not statistically significant (p = 0.067), there was a tendency of lower quality of life among the participants who were currently constipated compared with those not currently constipated (difference of mean EQ-5D: 0.629-0.555 = 0.074). A significantly lower (p = 0.001) quality of life was found among participants who were dissatisfied with their laxative [mean (SD): 0.424 (0.350)] than among those who were satisfied or neither satisfied nor dissatisfied [mean (SD): 0.628 (0.235) and 0.673 (0.155), respectively].ConclusionsThe results suggest a high degree of moderate to very severe abdominal symptoms, a high degree of self-management of opioid-induced constipation, a low degree of satisfaction with laxative, and low health-related quality of life of patients suffering from chronic pain necessitating long-term opioid treatment, subsequent constipation and laxatives use.ImplicationsPatients suffering from OIC with low quality of life and remaining symptoms despite use of two or more laxatives are a vulnerable patient group in need of optimized healthcare management, who also might benefit from more specific and innovative therapy.
Scandinavian Journal of Pain – de Gruyter
Published: Apr 1, 2016
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