AstraZeneca presents new data on the higher burden of opioid-induced constipation reported for people with back pain who take prescribed opioid medication

Thursday, 10 September 2015

AstraZeneca presented study data at the 2015 PAINWeek National Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, that showed that patients with opioid-induced constipation (OIC) and chronic non-cancer back pain were more likely to report interference with their pain management, health-related quality of life (HRQL) and activity than those prescribed opioid medication for other types of pain.

“Taking opioids to manage chronic pain can result in constipation. In the study, we learned that managing both opioid-induced constipation and back pain can be dually burdensome for these patients, due to the straining that is caused by the OIC,” said Catherine Datto, MD, principal study investigator and US Medical Lead, Neuroscience at AstraZeneca. 

The study, “Does the Impact of OIC Differ by Type of Chronic Pain?,” examined the effects of OIC on different types of pain, particularly chronic back pain, with the goal of better understanding the patient experience when both OIC and chronic non-cancer back pain occur together. The study analyzed the self-reported burden of OIC among 489 patients aged 18-85 years taking opioid medication daily for more than four weeks for chronic non-cancer pain. Patients were categorized into three groups – patients with back pain only, patients with back pain and other types of pain, and patients with other types of pain — and asked to complete assessments and questionnaires designed to measure ways in which symptoms associated with OIC had impacted their lives.

According to patient surveys used to collect patient-reported feedback in the study, people with back pain only were more likely to report:

  • That constipation had moderately interfered with their pain management
  • That they experienced a greater impact on their health-related quality of life than people with other types of pain
  • That they experienced higher activity impairment due to constipation in comparison with patients with other types of pain
  • That they were significantly more bothered due to OIC symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, stomach cramps and painful bowel movements than people with other types of pain

“While we know OIC is a common side effect of opioid therapy and can interfere with pain management, this data suggests a need for further research into the impact of OIC on specific types of chronic pain conditions, and a need for more open dialogue between clinicians and patients taking prescription opioid medication,” added Dr Datto.


About the Poster: “Does the Impact of OIC Differ by Type of Chronic Pain?”

The poster was authored by Catherine Datto, MD, US Medical Lead, Neuroscience at AstraZeneca and principal investigator, Robert LoCasale, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Hilary Wilson, Evidera, and Karin Coyne, Evidera. In the study, patients from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany completed web-based surveys over 24 weeks. The surveys assessed OIC symptoms, laxative use, pain levels, HRQL, productivity and perceived satisfaction with laxative treatments at baseline and at weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16 and 24. Patients were categorized into three groups – patients with back pain only, patients with back pain and other pain and patients with other pain.

About Opioid-Induced Constipation (OIC)

Opioid-induced constipation (OIC) is a different type of constipation. While opioids block pain signals, they can also block activity in the bowel. OIC is one of the most common side effects of opioids. Millions of people are estimated to suffer from OIC that can last for as long as patients take opioids to manage their chronic pain, which may leave many people struggling to find relief.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit

About Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.

Daiichi Sankyo Group is dedicated to the creation and supply of innovative pharmaceutical products to address the diversified, unmet medical needs of patients in both mature and emerging markets. While maintaining its portfolio of marketed pharmaceuticals for hypertension, dyslipidemia and bacterial infections used by patients around the world, the Group has also launched treatments for thrombotic disorders and is building new product franchises. Furthermore, Daiichi Sankyo research and development is focused on bringing forth novel therapies in oncology and cardiovascular-metabolic diseases, including biologics. The Daiichi Sankyo Group has created a ‘Hybrid Business Model’ to respond to market and customer diversity and optimize growth opportunities across the value chain. For more information, please visit: Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, is a member of the Daiichi Sankyo Group. For more information on Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., please visit


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1. Datto, Catherine et al. Does the Impact of OIC Differ by Type of Chronic Pain? Presented at PAINWeek National Conference on Pain for Frontline Practitioners 2015; Las Vegas, NV; September 8-12.

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