What does opioid-induced constipation (OIC) have to do with the Super Bowl?Not much, I would have imagined, but thinking broadly, after the 112 million people who tuned in1 finished laughing, maybe a few hundred thousand viewers might connect the dots.
That’s because, in 2014, an estimated two million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain medicines2. And nearly half of those on long-term opioids experience OIC3.
At a recent continuing medical education event, I was surprised to find an entire 90 minute session (plus a non-credit mini-session provided by a pharmaceutical company) devoted to opioid-induced constipation.
Apparently, as a nation, we are such avid users of prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone and codeine, that we must now be concerned about people blowing out their colons because of severe OIC3. This goes far beyond stool softeners and every-so-often laxative use. Bowel perforation is certainly no laughing matter.
But the topic made me think of the common complaint of garden-variety constipation, and so I polled my colleagues at NIHA for their favorite approaches to constipation.Read More