What to Do and What Not to Do in the Management of Opioid-Induced Constipation: A Choosing Wisely Report

Domenico Alvaro, Augusto Tommaso Caraceni, Flaminia Coluzzi, Walter Gianni, Fabio Lugoboni, Franco Marinangeli, Giuseppe Massazza, Carmine Pinto, Giustino Varrassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Despite the essential utility of opioids for the clinical management of pain, opioid-induced constipation (OIC) remains an important obstacle in clinical practice. In patients, OIC hinders treatment compliance and has negative effects on quality of life. From a clinician perspective, the diagnosis and management of OIC are hampered by the absence of a clear, universal diagnostic definition across disciplines and a lack of standardization in OIC treatment and assessment.

METHODS: A multidisciplinary panel of physician experts who treat OIC was assembled to identify a list of ten corrective actions-five "things to do" and five "things not to do"-for the diagnosis and management of OIC, utilizing the Choosing Wisely methodology.

RESULTS: The final list of corrective actions to improve the diagnosis and clinical management of OIC emphasized a need for: (i) better physician and patient education regarding OIC; (ii) systematic use of diagnostically validated approaches to OIC diagnosis and assessment (i.e., Rome IV criteria and Bristol Stool Scale, respectively) across various medical contexts; and (iii) awareness about appropriate, evidence-based treatments for OIC including available peripheral mu-opioid receptor antagonists (PAMORAs).

CONCLUSIONS: Physicians who prescribe long-term opioids should be forthcoming with patients about the possibility of OIC and be adequately versed in the most recent guideline recommendations for its management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-667
Number of pages11
JournalPain and Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'What to Do and What Not to Do in the Management of Opioid-Induced Constipation: A Choosing Wisely Report'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this