Prolonged release oxycodone and naloxone treatment counteracts opioid-induced constipation in patients with severe pain compared to previous analgesic treatment
Objective: Treatment with prolonged-release oxycodone/naloxone (PR OXN) has been shown to improve opioid induced constipation (OIC) in constipated patients. This publication reports on a real-life observational study investigating the efficacy of PR OXN with regard to bowel function in patients switching to PR OXN from WHO step 1, step 2 and step 3 opioids.
Methods: Patients with chronic pain experiencing insufficient pain relief and/or unacceptable side effects were switched to PR OXN and monitored in this observational study with respect to efficacy regarding bowel function and efficacy regarding pain relief in comparison with previous analgesic therapy. A patient was considered a responder with respect to efficacy if this assessment was “slightly better”, “better” or “much better” compared with previous therapy. Bowel function index, pain intensity, quality of life, laxative medication use, and safety analgesic were also evaluated.
Results: A total of 1338 patients (mean [SD] age 64.3 [14.9], 63% female) were observed for 43 [3–166] days (median [range]) during treatment with PR OXN. Overall response rate regarding bowel function efficacy was 82.5%. Patients with symptoms of constipation at study entry obtained a clinically relevant improvement of the bowel function index (BFI) within the first 2 weeks of PR OXN treatment. Non-constipated patients at study entry maintained normal bowel function despite switching to treatment with the opioid PR OXN.
Conclusion: In conclusion, treatment with PR OXN results in a significant and clinically relevant improvement of bowel function. During the observation of the treatment with PR OXN patients reported an improvement of quality of life (QoL). More interestingly, non-constipated patients maintained a normal bowel function, showing prevention of constipation despite the use of an opioid.