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      Opioid-induced bowel dysfunction: prevalence, pathophysiology and burden

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          Abstract

          As a result of the undesired action of opioids on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, patients receiving opioid medication for chronic pain often experience opioid-induced bowel dysfunction (OBD), the most common and debilitating symptom of which is constipation. Based on clinical experience and a comprehensive MEDLINE literature review, this paper provides the primary care physician with an overview of the prevalence, pathophysiology and burden of OBD. Patients with OBD suffer from a wide range of symptoms including constipation, decreased gastric emptying, abdominal cramping, spasm, bloating, delayed GI transit and the formation of hard dry stools. OBD can have a serious negative impact on quality of life (QoL) and the daily activities that patients feel able to perform. To relieve constipation associated with OBD, patients often use laxatives chronically (associated with risks) or alter/abandon their opioid medication, potentially sacrificing analgesia. Physicians should have greater appreciation of the prevalence, symptoms and burden of OBD. In light of the serious negative impact OBD can have on QoL, physicians should encourage dialogue with patients to facilitate optimal symptomatic management of the condition. There is a pressing need for new therapies that act upon the underlying mechanisms of OBD.

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          Most cited references 46

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          Functional bowel disorders.

          Employing a consensus approach, our working team critically considered the available evidence and multinational expert criticism, revised the Rome II diagnostic criteria for the functional bowel disorders, and updated diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Diagnosis of a functional bowel disorder (FBD) requires characteristic symptoms during the last 3 months and onset > or =6 months ago. Alarm symptoms suggest the possibility of structural disease, but do not necessarily negate a diagnosis of an FBD. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional bloating, functional constipation, and functional diarrhea are best identified by symptom-based approaches. Subtyping of IBS is controversial, and we suggest it be based on stool form, which can be aided by use of the Bristol Stool Form Scale. Diagnostic testing should be guided by the patient's age, primary symptom characteristics, and other clinical and laboratory features. Treatment of FBDs is based on an individualized evaluation, explanation, and reassurance. Alterations in diet, drug treatment aimed at predominant symptoms, and psychotherapy may be beneficial.
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            Survey of chronic pain in Europe: prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment.

            This large scale computer-assisted telephone survey was undertaken to explore the prevalence, severity, treatment and impact of chronic pain in 15 European countries and Israel. Screening interviews identified respondents aged 18 years with chronic pain for in-depth interviews. 19% of 46,394 respondents willing to participate (refusal rate 46%) had suffered pain for 6 months, had experienced pain in the last month and several times during the last week. Their pain intensity was 5 on a 10-point Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) (1 = no pain, 10 = worst pain imaginable) during last episode of pain. In-depth interviews with 4839 respondents with chronic pain (about 300 per country) showed: 66% had moderate pain (NRS = 5-7), 34% had severe pain (NRS = 8-10), 46% had constant pain, 54% had intermittent pain. 59% had suffered with pain for two to 15 years, 21% had been diagnosed with depression because of their pain, 61% were less able or unable to work outside the home, 19% had lost their job and 13% had changed jobs because of their pain. 60% visited their doctor about their pain 2-9 times in the last six months. Only 2% were currently treated by a pain management specialist. One-third of the chronic pain sufferers were currently not being treated. Two-thirds used non-medication treatments, e.g,. massage (30%), physical therapy (21%), acupuncture (13%). Almost half were taking non-prescription analgesics; 'over the counter' (OTC) NSAIDs (55%), paracetamol (43%), weak opioids (13%). Two-thirds were taking prescription medicines: NSAIDs (44%), weak opioids (23%), paracetamol (18%), COX-2 inhibitors (1-36%), and strong opioids (5%). Forty percent had inadequate management of their pain. Interesting differences between countries were observed, possibly reflecting differences in cultural background and local traditions in managing chronic pain. Chronic pain of moderate to severe intensity occurs in 19% of adult Europeans, seriously affecting the quality of their social and working lives. Very few were managed by pain specialists and nearly half received inadequate pain management. Although differences were observed between the 16 countries, we have documented that chronic pain is a major health care problem in Europe that needs to be taken more seriously.
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              Opioids in chronic non-cancer pain: systematic review of efficacy and safety.

              Opioids are used increasingly for chronic non-cancer pain. Controversy exists about their effectiveness and safety with long-term use. We analysed available randomised, placebo-controlled trials of WHO step 3 opioids for efficacy and safety in chronic non-cancer pain. The Oxford Pain Relief Database (1950-1994) and Medline, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were searched until September 2003. Inclusion criteria were randomised comparisons of WHO step 3 opioids with placebo in chronic non-cancer pain. Double-blind studies reporting on pain intensity outcomes using validated pain scales were included. Fifteen randomised placebo-controlled trials were included. Four investigations with 120 patients studied intravenous opioid testing. Eleven studies (1025 patients) compared oral opioids with placebo for four days to eight weeks. Six of the 15 included trials had an open label follow-up of 6-24 months. The mean decrease in pain intensity in most studies was at least 30% with opioids and was comparable in neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain. About 80% of patients experienced at least one adverse event, with constipation (41%), nausea (32%) and somnolence (29%) being most common. Only 44% of 388 patients on open label treatments were still on opioids after therapy for between 7 and 24 months. The short-term efficacy of opioids was good in both neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain conditions. However, only a minority of patients in these studies went on to long-term management with opioids. The small number of selected patients and the short follow-ups do not allow conclusions concerning problems such as tolerance and addiction.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Clin Pract
                ijcp
                International Journal of Clinical Practice
                Blackwell Publishing Ltd
                1368-5031
                1742-1241
                July 2007
                : 61
                : 7
                : 1181-1187
                Affiliations
                [1 ]simpleNational Institute of Pain and Coalition for Pain Education (COPE) Foundation Tampa, FL, USA
                [2 ]simpleNational Institute of Pain Tampa, FL, USA
                [3 ]simpleGlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park NC, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Dr Sunil J. Panchal, National Institute of Pain and Coalition for Pain Education (COPE) Foundation, 4911 Van Dyke Rd, Lutz, Tampa, FL 33558, USA Tel.: + 1 813 264 7246 Fax: + 1 813 264 7249 http://www.nationalinstituteofpain.org Email: sunilpanchal2000@ 123456yahoo.com

                Disclosures Dr Panchal is a Consultant for GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Purdue Pharma LP and Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.

                Article
                10.1111/j.1742-1241.2007.01415.x
                1974804
                17488292
                © 2007 The Authors Journal compilation 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
                Categories
                Review Articles

                Medicine

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