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Chappell, Daniel; Rehm, Markus; Conzen, Peter: Opioid-induced constipation in intensive care patients: relief in sight? In: Critical Care 2008, 12:161




Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complication associated with opioid therapy in chronic pain patients, and also frequently occurs in sedated intensive care unit patients. Conventional therapy may not provide sufficient relief from constipation, which can be severe enough to limit opioid use or the dose. In a recent study on terminally ill patients suffering from laxative-resistant opioid-induced constipation, Thomas and colleagues demonstrated subcutaneous methylnaltrexone to rapidly induce defecation. This appealing result might also have favourable prospects for intensive care patients, as their outcome is often codetermined by recovery of bowel functioning.