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Airing Pain 125: Opioid-Induced Constipation

Look­ing at the side effects of opi­oids for chron­ic pain management

This edi­tion of Air­ing Pain has been fund­ed by an edu­ca­tion­al grant from Kyowa Kirin.

While opi­oids are seen as an effec­tive treat­ment method for acute pain, there is an increas­ing debate on the effi­ca­cy of opi­oids when treat­ing chron­ic pain con­di­tions. One of the most com­mon side effects of long-term opi­oid usage is con­sti­pa­tion. Con­di­tions like irri­ta­ble bow­el syn­drome are more com­mon in peo­ple who are liv­ing with chron­ic pain con­di­tions, so bet­ter under­stand­ing of the con­nec­tion between opi­oids and con­sti­pa­tion is key for med­ical pro­fes­sion­als cur­rent­ly work­ing with chron­ic pain patients.

Fol­low­ing on from Air­ing Pain 123, this edi­tion sees Paul Evans speaks to Dr Maria Eugeni­cos, who is a gas­troen­terol­o­gist at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Edin­burgh. Dr Eugeni­cos starts by out­lin­ing the dif­fer­ent con­di­tions that are treat­ed at her gas­tro-intesti­nal clin­ic and how these con­di­tions can present. Dr Eugeni­cos then dis­cuss­es the preva­lence of opi­oid-induced con­sti­pa­tion in clin­i­cal patients and how shift­ing treat­ment meth­ods and prop­er­ly edu­cat­ing patients on their con­di­tions can help to improve their stan­dard of living.

Issues cov­ered in this pro­gramme include: Opi­oids, abdom­i­nal pain, amitripty­line, bow­els, con­sti­pa­tion, side effects, fatigue, fibromyal­gia, IBS: irri­ta­ble bow­el syn­drome, neu­ro­mod­u­la­tors, painkillers, pelvic pain, stom­ach pain, stool and tri­cyclic antidepressants.


  • Dr Maria Eugeni­cos, Senior Lecturer/Gastroenterologist at the West­ern Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal Gas­troen­terol­o­gy Depart­ment, Uni­ver­si­ty of Edinburgh
  • Dr Cathy Stan­nard, Con­sul­tant in Pain Med­i­cine and Pain Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gramme Clin­i­cal Lead for NHS Glouces­ter­shire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group.

More infor­ma­tion:

With thanks to:

  • Maggie’s Cen­tre, a resource net­work designed to help can­cer patients and their fam­i­lies –