Target Audience (click to view)
This activity is designed to meet the needs of physicians.
Learning Objectives(click to view)
Upon completion of the educational activity, participants should be able to:
- Review the findings of a study that used qualitative research methods to better understand the psychological distress and burden associated with opioid-induced constipation and its treatment in advanced cancer patients.
Method of Participation(click to view)
Statements of credit will be awarded based on the participant reviewing monograph, correctly answer 2 out of 3 questions on the post test, completing and submitting an activity evaluation. A statement of credit will be available upon completion of an online evaluation/claimed credit form at http://akhcme.com/akhcme/lessons/32. You must participate in the entire activity to receive credit. If you have questions about this CME/CE activity, please contact AKH Inc. at email@example.com.
Credit Available(click to view)
CME Credit Provided by AKH Inc., Advancing Knowledge in Healthcare
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of AKH Inc., Advancing Knowledge in Healthcare and Physician’s Weekly’s. AKH Inc., Advancing Knowledge in Healthcare is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
AKH Inc., Advancing Knowledge in Healthcare designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Commercial Support(click to view)
There is no commercial support for this activity.
Disclosures(click to view)
It is the policy of AKH Inc. to ensure independence, balance, objectivity, scientific rigor, and integrity in all of its continuing education activities. The author must disclose to the participants any significant relationships with commercial interests whose products or devices may be mentioned in the activity or with the commercial supporter of this continuing education activity. Identified conflicts of interest are resolved by AKH prior to accreditation of the activity and may include any of or combination of the following: attestation to non-commercial content; notification of independent and certified CME/CE expectations; referral to National Author Initiative training; restriction of topic area or content; restriction to discussion of science only; amendment of content to eliminate discussion of device or technique; use of other author for discussion of recommendations; independent review against criteria ensuring evidence support recommendation; moderator review; and peer review.
Disclosure of Unlabeled Use & Investigational Product(click to view)
This educational activity may include discussion of uses of agents that are investigational and/or unapproved by the FDA. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.
Disclaimer(click to view)
This course is designed solely to provide the healthcare professional with information to assist in his/her practice and professional development and is not to be considered a diagnostic tool to replace professional advice or treatment. The course serves as a general guide to the healthcare professional, and therefore, cannot be considered as giving legal, nursing, medical, or other professional advice in specific cases. AKH Inc. specifically disclaim responsibility for any adverse consequences resulting directly or indirectly from information in the course, for undetected error, or through participant’s misunderstanding of the content.
Faculty & Credentials(click to view)
Discloses no financial relationships with pharmaceutical or medical product manufacturers.
Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN- CE Director of Accreditation
Discloses no financial relationships with pharmaceutical or medical product manufacturers.
AKH planners and reviewers have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.
Take CME(click to view)
Cancer patients who receive opioid therapy for the management of persistent pain commonly experience opioid-induced bowel dysfunction. Constipation is one of the most frequent manifestations. Other symptoms include nausea, bloating, and reflux. According to studies, the prevalence of opioid-induced constipation (OIC) among people with advanced cancer varies from 25% to 90%.
“OIC is a complex and potentially serious problem,” says Lara K. Dhingra, PhD. “In addition to the physical effects from both OIC and the treatments used to manage it, OIC is associated with an emotional burden for patients.” Constipation may impair quality of life (QOL) and can potentially have serious complications, including bowel obstruction and severe anorexia. OIC can also lead to time missed from work, more healthcare utilization, and changes in opioid regimens.
Despite the growing recognition of adverse consequences that have been linked to OIC, little is known about the nature of psychological distress and the burden associated with this problem. There is a lack of systematic research on the affective and cognitive burden of OIC, particularly among cancer populations, a group that may be at higher risk for physical and psychological distress due to OIC. “Studies show that cancer patients are more likely to rate constipation as a cause of severe symptom distress than pain,” adds Dr. Dhingra. “This highlights the importance of developing effective treatment strategies and finding ways to reduce distress.”
A Qualitative Analysis
A study published in Palliative Medicine by Dr. Dhingra and colleagues used qualitative research methods to better understand the psychological distress and burden associated with OIC and its treatment in advanced cancer patients. “This type of design is ideal for investigating patient experiences with health and illness when little is known about a problem,” Dr. Dhingra says. “It helps identify important variables.” The authors recruited 12 patients with advanced cancer (Table 1) and persistent constipation. Transcripts recorded during semi-structured interviews were analyzed for recurring themes.
The patients were highly symptomatic (Table 2) and the qualitative analysis revealed complex types of negative affect and cognitions relating to OIC. Three major themes emerged:
Irrational Thoughts & Education
According to Dr. Dhingra, irrational thoughts and educational needs included several important factors to consider. “For example, some patients believed nutrition could improve OIC, a theme that persisted even though actual experiences did not support these strategies,” she says. “The reasons for this may be multi-factorial, so it’s important for healthcare providers to assess beliefs about nutrition and help patients develop realistic expectations when using self-management strategies.”
Some patients also thought OIC was an indicator of deteriorating health, whereas others had catastrophic beliefs about the problem. “Education for these patients should be designed to address inaccurate beliefs and clarify the causes of OIC and the factors that maintain it,” says Dr. Dhingra. “Psychotherapeutic strategies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, should be considered if patients have persistent negative thought patterns.”
The researchers also found that psychological distress associated with OIC included depressive symptoms and anticipatory anxiety related to constipation. “This distress may amplify over time and could lead to social isolation, agitation, and frustration with treatments that are believed to be ineffective,” Dr. Dhingra says. “Again, patient education and psychotherapeutic strategies should be used to help address psychological distress resulting from OIC.”
Effects on Treatment Decisions
Some patients indicated that OIC caused them to use lower doses of opioids or to stop taking them altogether. “This could compromise pain control and QOL,” says Dr. Dhingra. “Clinicians need to be vigilant about OIC when caring for patients taking long-term opioid therapy. Patients should be educated about the strategies that can help reduce the burden of OIC and those that don’t.”
In the future, Dr. Dhingra says that greater efforts should be made to target distress and misconceptions resulting from OIC and provide accurate information to symptomatic patients to improve care. “Patients need to learn about behavioral and psychological interventions that can help them cope with OIC as well as medications that can treat it,” she says. “We also need studies to address the multiple components of the cognitive and affective burden of OIC and investigate more interventions that aim to improve outcomes.”
Readings & Resources (click to view)
Dhingra L, Shuk E, Grossman B, et al. A qualitative study to explore psychological distress and illness burden associated with opioid-induced constipation in cancer patients with advanced disease. Palliat Med. 2013;27:447-456. Available at: http://pmj.sagepub.com/content/27/5/447.
Bell TJ, Panchal SJ, Miaskowski C, et al. The prevalence, severity and impact of opioid-induced bowel dysfunction: Results of a US and European patient survey (PROBE 1). Pain Med 2009;10:35-42.
Robinson CB, Fritch M, Hullett L, et al. Development of a protocol to prevent opioid-induced constipation in patients with cancer: A research utilization project. Clin J Oncol Nurs 2000;4:79-84.
Penning-van Beest FJ, van den Haak P, Klok RM, Prevoo YF, van der Peet DL, Herings RM. Quality of life in relation to constipation among opioid users. J Med Econ. 2010;13:129-135.
Robinson CB, Fritch M, Hullett L, et al. Development of a protocol to prevent opioid-induced constipation in patients with cancer: a research utilization project. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2000;4:79-84.
Clemens KE, Klaschik E. Management of constipation in palliative care patients. Curr Opin Support Palliat Care. 2008;2:22-27.