Prolonged-release oxycodone/naloxone reduces opioid-induced constipation and improves quality of life in laxative-refractory patients: results of an observational study

Opioids are an effective treatment for moderate-to-severe pain. However, they are associated with a number of gastrointestinal side effects, most commonly constipation. Laxatives do not target the underlying mechanism of opioid-induced constipation (OIC), so many patients do not have their symptoms resolved. Fixed-dose prolonged-release (PR) oxycodone/naloxone (OXN) tablets contain the opioid agonist oxycodone and the opioid antagonist naloxone. Nal-oxone blocks the action of oxycodone in the gut without compromising its analgesic effects. This study evaluated the effectiveness of PR OXN in patients with severe pain who had laxative-refractory OIC with their previous opioid. The study was carried out in 13 centres across the UK and Ireland, using a bespoke online tool to capture patients’ data. Patients were reviewed according to normal clinical practice of each centre and rated any changes in their constipation and quality of life (QoL) since starting PR OXN. Any change in patients’ laxative use was also recorded. One hundred and seven patients were entered into the database, and 81 went on to attend at least one review. Of these, 54 (66.7%) reported an improvement in constipation and 50 (61.7%) reported an improvement in QoL since starting PR OXN. Fifty-seven patients (70.4%) said they had reduced laxative intake; 48 (59.3%) only needed laxatives as required. PR OXN reduced symptoms of constipation, improved QoL and reduced laxative intake in patients with OIC. It has a potential place early in any treatment strategy for severe pain in patients using opioids, particularly in patients who may be predisposed to constipation.

Authors: Bantel C, Tripathi SS, Molony D, Heffernan T, Oomman S, Mehta V, Dickerson S. ; Authors: Clinical Exposure & Gastroenterology. 2018 Jan 24; 11:57-67. doi: 10.2147/CEG.S143913. eCollection 2018.