Opioid-Induced Constipation

Chronic Pain Patients: Opioid Induced Constipation a Serious Concern After Surgery

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Jonathan Jahr, MD, DABA, FASA

Dr. Jonathan Jahr is an anesthesiologist in Los Angeles, California and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including UCLA Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center-Santa Monica. He received his medical degree from New York Medical College and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Dr-Jonathan-Jahr

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  Why is it important?

Response: I have worked in the hospital setting for the past 25 years and have conducted multiple studies on different opioid and non-opioid strategies for managing both chronic and acute pain. I also co-edited a textbook entitled Essence of Analgesia and Analgesics. My background and the research I’ve done sets the stage for newer pain management protocols that can provide patients with significant pain relief, and improved satisfaction and outcomes due to fewer or avoided opioid related side effects (ORADS) such as opioid-induced constipation (OIC).

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EXPAREL TAP Block Provides Pain Relief For Cesarean Delivery With Less Opioids

PainRelief.com Interview with:

B. Wycke Baker, MD
Chief of Service, Anesthesiology at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women
Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Baylor College of Medicine 

pacira pharmaceuticals

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: For this study, we reviewed the charts of 201 women who underwent cesarean deliveries and received a multimodal pain management protocol with or without a TAP block utilizing EXPAREL, a long-acting, non-opioid option to manage pain following surgery. A TAP block, or a transversus abdominis plane block, is a field block that numbs the nerves that supply the abdominal wall. The study included patients who underwent elective, unscheduled waiting list, or emergency cesarean delivery with combined spinal-epidural anesthesia and post-cesarean pain management at Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women between 2012 and 2015.

The findings revealed many positive outcomes for patients who received a TAP block utilizing EXPAREL compared to those who received multimodal pain control without a TAP block utilizing EXPAREL. For instance, patients who received EXPAREL TAP block showed a significant decrease in postsurgical pain as well as a significant decrease in opioid consumption. On average, patients who received EXPAREL TAP block had shorter time to discharge from PACU, shorter time to readiness for discharge to home, and shorter length of stay in hospital than those who did not receive EXPAREL TAP block.

Further, a significantly higher number of patients treated with EXPAREL TAP block (12%) compared to those without EXPAREL TAP block (3%) consumed no opioids after surgery. Fewer patients treated with EXPAREL TAP block (34%) compared to those without EXPAREL TAP block (50%) reported any adverse events following the delivery.

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Online Patient Materials Unlikely to Discuss Risk of Opioids Prescribed for Pain Relief

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Edward R. Mariano, MD, MAS (Clinical Research)
Chief, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care Service and
Associate Chief of Staff for Inpatient Surgical Services
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Stanford University School of Medicine
Palo Alto, CA  94304

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Today, there is so much attention on the opioid epidemic, and patients and clinicians are constantly reminded about the dangers of opioids. Guidelines have recommended the provision of patient and caregiver education on pain management, especially on how to taper (safely decrease and eventually stop taking) opioids after surgery. With over 70 fellowship programs in regional anesthesiology and acute pain medicine, we assumed that there would be plenty of information for patients on safe opioid management online since most people use the internet to find health-related information. We conducted a rigorous search for online patient education materials related to safe opioid management, evaluated to reading level and content, and compared materials produced by fellowship programs to other online educational materials. Unfortunately, the average reading level for all materials we found was above the level recommended for patients (sixth grade or lower). Most fellowship programs in regional anesthesiology and acute pain medicine did not even offer online patient education materials and were less likely to describe overdose risk and opioid disposal. Less than half of all materials mentioned tapering or cessation of opioids after surgery (see visual abstract attached).

PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Since our patients reliably go to the internet for information, we as a healthcare community need to get out there and put valuable information online that people can use. Overdoses due to opioids are a public health crisis, and direct-to-patient education on safe opioid storage, tapering, and disposal through the internet can make a difference. Fellowship programs should take the lead. As the institutions training the next generation of physician leaders in regional anesthesiology and acute pain medicine, one priority should be teaching fellows modern communication tools to help educate their patients and society in general.


PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: For this study, we focused on written materials only in order to assess readability, but we do not yet know what is the ideal format (e.g., video) for providing patient education. This preference may be influenced by a number of factors and should be studied. We also do not know the best location for patient educational materials online or how to most efficiently disseminate this information to people likely to benefit from it. Another important research question is when and how patients access information related to their own care as this may influence when to promote online educational materials to patients preparing for surgery.

PainRelief.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: None of the authors has financial conflicts of interest to disclose. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA), Chair of the Committee on Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain Medicine for the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), Speaker of the House of Delegates for the California Society of Anesthesiologists, and National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. 

Citation:

Gunjan Kumar, Kellie M Jaremko, Alex Kou, Steven K Howard, T Kyle Harrison, Edward R Mariano; Quality of Patient Education Materials on Safe Opioid Management in the Acute Perioperative Period: What Do Patients Find Online?, Pain Medicine, , pny296, https://doi.org/10.1093/pm/pny296

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Pain and Substance Use Can Interact in a Vicious Cycle

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Emily L. Zale PhD Department of Psychology Syracuse University Syracuse, New York

Dr. Zale

Emily L. Zale PhD
Department of Psychology
Syracuse University
Syracuse, New York

PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: When people think of pain and substance use, it’s common for opioids to come to mind. While the opioid crisis has rightfully garnered considerable attention, our research suggests that non-opioid substances, like nicotine/tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis, are also important to consider in relation to pain. In fact, nicotine/tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis are the most commonly used substances in the US, and research into associations between pain and these non-opioid substances is continuing to increase in popularity.

Research studies usually examine either how substance use affects pain or how pain affects substance use. We looked at results from over 100 studies and put these two different types of research together to understand how pain and substance use affect each other.

On one hand, substance use can be a risk factor for chronic pain and may worsen pain over time. On the other hand, experiencing pain can motivate people to use substances and might make it harder to quit. By putting these two types of studies together, we found that pain and substance use  interact in a vicious cycle that can ultimately worsen and maintain both chronic pain and addiction.

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Gabapentin For Pain Relief of Vulvodynia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gloria A Bachmann, MD
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medicine
Associate Dean for Women’s Health
Director, Women’s Health Institute
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Chronic pain is an extremely difficult symptom for anyone to deal with, regardless of the cause. However, when the pain involves the genital area, it exacerbates the pain condition, as it then becomes a more sensitive area for the person to talk about and to feel comfortable in asking for medical help. This is precisely the case for women with vulvodynia.

Vulvodynia is defined as a pain that persists over several months in the outer area of the vaginal opening. Symptoms women often have from this condition, in addition to the pain itself, include burning, pressure, itching and soreness. Some women note the pain in the entire area surrounding the vaginal opening, whereas others only note it in one or two sites. Further, for many women the pain interferes with their ability to engage in sexual exchange, the wearing of certain types of clothing and even the ability to start a family as coital activity may not be possible for them. Unfortunately, because the exact cause of vulvodynia has not been described, treatments are varied and aim at treating the pain rather than the underlying cause. One intervention that has been used for women with this condition is the medication, gabapentin. However, although it appears to be a successful intervention for some sufferers, there had not been a definitive clinical trial that looked at this medication as it compares to a placebo intervention.

Therefore, our Rutgers site, along with the University of Tennessee and the University of Rochester commenced a clinical trial to test how effective gabapentin was as compared to a placebo, or non-pharmacologic intervention in women with this condition. Continue reading

Study Suggest Opioids Should Not Be First Line Therapy for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Dr. Jason Busse PhD Associate Professor McMaster University

Dr. Busse


Dr. Jason Busse PhD
Associate Professor
McMaster University

PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: The United States prescribes more opioids per capita than any other country in the world, and opioids are associated with addiction, overdose, and death. Many individuals living with chronic noncancer pain are managed with opioid therapy; however, we have limited knowledge regarding benefits and harms. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to synthesize the evidence from all RCTs that explored an opioid vs. a non-opioid comparator for patients with chronic noncancer pain, and followed participants for at least 1 month. Continue reading

Massage for Osteoarthritis of Knee Reduced Pain and Improved Physical Functioning

Adam-Perlman-

Dr. Perlman

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Adam Perlman, MD, MPH

Program Director, Leadership Program in Integrative Healthcare
Duke Integrative Medicine 

PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Current treatment options for knee osteoarthritis have limited effectiveness and potentially adverse side effects. Massage may offer a safe and effective complement to the management of knee osteoarthritis.

We investigated the effect of whole-body massage on knee osteoarthritis, compared to active control (light-touch), and usual care. Participants received 8 weeks of massage, light-touch or usual care and then were randomly assigned to maintenance every other week massage, light-touch or continuation of their usual care. At the end of 8 weeks, massage significantly improved symptoms, including pain, stiffness and physical function, while the other groups did not. At 52 weeks, every other week massage maintained the improvements, however the other groups also improved. Continue reading

Early Physical Therapy Can Be Protective Against Chronic Opioid Use

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Steven Z. George, PT, PhD  Professor Director of Musculoskeletal Research Duke Clinical Research Institute Vice Chair of Clinical Research Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. George

Steven Z. George, PT, PhD 
Professor
Director of Musculoskeletal Research
Duke Clinical Research Institute
Vice Chair of Clinical Research
Orthopaedic Surgery

PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?Response: This study adds to existing health services research investigating the sequence of services/providers for musculoskeletal pain and its impact on opioid use.

The study suggest that early physical therapy (PT) for the 4 most common musculoskeletal conditions (back, neck, shoulder, and knee) can be protective of chronic/long term opioid use for individuals that were opioid naïve when presenting for their care.  What is different about this study is that the 4 conditions were studied in the same cohort and the same definition of early PT was used (many of the previous studies just looked at 1 conditions, and used different definitions of early physical therapy).  The other thing that was different is that we used a larger dataset of private insurance providers, so this study cuts across different regions of the study (many of the previous studies included one health system).

There was notable consistency in the findings for the 4 conditions and protection of any opioid use, but there were some contingencies.

First was that there was no benefit on decreased dosage for individuals with neck pain – as that was not expected.

Second was that in a follow up sensitivity analysis it looked like the largest benefit of early physical therapy may be for those with back and knee pain.  Continue reading

Acupuncture Provided Pain Relief From Cancer and Related Symptoms

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Jai N. Patel, PharmD, BCOP
Chief, Pharmacology Research
Associate Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology
Department of Cancer Pharmacology
Levine Cancer Institute
Charlotte, NC 28204 

PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Pain is one of the most prevalent and burdensome symptoms affecting patients with cancer. Cancer-related pain is most commonly treated with opioid analgesics; however, nearly two-thirds of patients have inadequate pain relief and/or experience opioid-related side effects.

Furthermore, the fear of opioid abuse/addiction and toxicity deters some from prescribing opioids and reduces patient compliance. Thus, nonpharmacologic interventions such as acupuncture may be safer approaches to cancer-related pain.  Randomized controlled trials suggest acupuncture reduces chronic neuropathic and postoperative pain in patients with cancer. It is unknown whether any patient characteristics predict post-acupuncture pain response.

We assessed acupuncture’s effectiveness for cancer-related pain, identified patient characteristics associated with pain response, and determined its effect on other concurrent cancer-related symptoms in palliative medicine outpatients. We identified significant benefits in pain scores immediately after the first treatment and across multiple treatments. Significant pain reduction was associated with higher baseline pain and more advanced disease stage.

We also identified significant changes in anxiety, depression, drowsiness, dyspnea, fatigue, nausea and well-being. Improvements in fatigue and depression also correlated with significant pain reduction after acupuncture.  Continue reading

Headache an Immense Public Health Problem, for Rich and Poor Countries

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Lars Jacob Stovner MD PhD Professor of Neurology Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology Head of the Norwegian Advisory Unit on Headaches, St. Olavs Hospital Trondheim, Norway

Prof. Stovner

Lars Jacob Stovner MD PhD
Professor of Neurology
Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science
NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Head of the Norwegian Advisory Unit on Headaches,
St. Olavs Hospital Trondheim, Norway

PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The study focuses on prevalence and burden of migraine and tension-type headache in the Global Burden of Disease project from 2016.

Previous analyses has shown that migraine is the second most disabling disorder in terms of years lived with disability. This particular analysis shows that more than 1 billion people suffered from migraine in 2016 and 1.9 billion from tension-type headache, and it gives estimates each country and different world regions.

Headache is particularly burdensome in young and middle-aged women, but the impact is also quite marked also in men, children and elderly.

There is considerable variation between countries, but the burden is relatively stable over time (from 1990), and there is no obvious relation to the socioeconomic level of the country.  Continue reading