Amplifying the OIC Patient’s Voice

By Cathy Datto, MD, ‎US Lead Medical Affairs, Neuroscience

The relationship between patients and healthcare providers (HCPs) has evolved from what it has been in the past, when patients were often unaware of treatment options and sometimes even their own diagnosis.

Today, healthcare providers and patients are increasingly working together to incorporate the patient experience and their unique journey into their care plan. This shift in mindset makes each patient’s voice a powerful tool in communicating the impact of illness. The patient voice allows for deeper appreciation of the patient experience and highlights the unique journey that is important to the dynamics of the HCP—patient relationship.

Recently, I had the opportunity to highlight the patient perspective while moderating a panel, hosted by AstraZeneca, for an audience that included HCPs at the PainWeek National Conference in Las Vegas, NV. The panel featured three advocates from the U.S. Pain Foundation who openly shared their personal experience with pain and opioid-induced constipation (OIC). OIC is one of the most commonly reported side effects of opioid therapy. The occurrence varies, but is estimated to affect roughly 40% of patients in clinical trials who were taking opioids for chronic non-cancer pain.

Each panelist openly spoke to the very personal side of OIC, a topic that some people are typically reluctant to address with their HCPs. The panelists also offered their advice on how to begin a new conversation about OIC, importantly noting that just as HCPs must ask questions, patients need to feel comfortable speaking up about their experience. Hearing first hand from patients about the burden of OIC helped the attendees appreciate their experience and needs. The panel discussion provided an opportunity to begin this dialogue and encourage HCPs to take learnings back to their practices.

AstraZeneca is committed to putting patients first and thanks to all those who participated in this event for their insights and willingness to expand their perspectives.  To continue the conversation about OIC visit our community blog,

Pictured above: Patient panelists from the US Pain Foundation, (from left to right) Paul Gileno, Nicole Hemmenway and Casey Cashman, share their personal stories about OIC. The panel was moderated by Cathy Datto (far right), US Medical Lead, Neuroscience, for AstraZeneca.

US Pain Foundation President and Founder Paul Gileno uses a metaphor to explain how OIC made him feel like a cork, all stopped up inside.