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How do opioid pain medications cause constipation?

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Unlike other side effects from these drugs, like feeling sleepy or nauseated, constipation doesn’t go away after a few days on the medication. Scientists think this is because your gut doesn’t get used to opioids the way the rest of your body does. The longer you take the drug, the bigger the chance it will block you up.

SOURCES:

Nelson, A. , July 2015. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology

Holzer, P. , June 2012 Current Pharmaceutical Design

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. “Pain Relief for Terminally Ill Patients: Core Competencies, Side Effects.”

Swegle, J. American Family Physician, October 2006.

Colorado State University. “Physiology of Peristalsis.”

Clemens, K. , February 2010. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management

American Cancer Society. “Opioid Pain Medicines for Cancer Pain.”

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “Constipation from Opioids (Narcotics).”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on February 28, 2018

SOURCES:

Nelson, A. , July 2015. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology

Holzer, P. , June 2012 Current Pharmaceutical Design

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. “Pain Relief for Terminally Ill Patients: Core Competencies, Side Effects.”

Swegle, J. American Family Physician, October 2006.

Colorado State University. “Physiology of Peristalsis.”

Clemens, K. , February 2010. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management

American Cancer Society. “Opioid Pain Medicines for Cancer Pain.”

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “Constipation from Opioids (Narcotics).”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on February 28, 2018

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How can opioids give your digestive system mixed signals?

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