Advances in therapy 2017 02 08() doi 10.1007/s12325-017-0480-4
Opioid-induced constipation (OIC) is a common consequence of opioid use for chronic pain. OIC creates problems for patients independent of their pain syndromes, in addition to threatening pain treatment effectiveness. Healthcare practitioners need to be alert to how patients talk about OIC so that it is not missed. Using a survey mechanism, we sought patient expressions of the personal impact OIC imposes on how they are able to live their lives and on meanings that symptom relief would produce.
We used an online survey asking adults with OIC about quality of life implications of OIC and focused on open-ended text responses to questions about personal impacts of straining and meanings attached to OIC symptom relief. Participants were from the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Sweden, and Norway.
A survey of 513 people with OIC produced 280 text responses concerning the impacts of straining on quality of life and 469 text responses on the meaning OIC symptom relief would confer. Text responses about the quality of life impacts of straining often included explicit descriptions conveying physical, psychological, or practical problems. Text responses about the meaning conferred from OIC symptom relief primarily concentrated around freedom from the constraints that OIC can impose.
Patients are willing and able to comment on the problems OIC cause them, using a variety of terms and phrases. Their comments concerning impacts on their lives will often refer to physical consequences, psychological effects, or practical implications. These insights provide healthcare practitioners guidance on how to engage patients about OIC.