BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Sept. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The 100 million Americans living with chronic pain face challenges every day due to their conditions, but they also battle debilitating side effects of their pain medication, including opioid-induced constipation (OIC), for an unnecessary length of time.1 According to a new national survey conducted by Salix Pharmaceuticals (Salix), a wholly owned subsidiary of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc., in partnership with the U.S. Pain Foundation, more than half (51 percent) of chronic pain patients have been suffering from OIC for three years or longer and most patients (73 percent) agree that one of the biggest challenges of having OIC is that medications don’t work quickly enough to relieve pain associated with OIC. In fact, 53 percent of patients say they want OIC relief in under four hours.
OIC is a type of secondary constipation specifically caused by opioids and is one of the most common side effects of opioid use. 2,3 An online survey of 441 US adults with chronic pain who are on opioid therapy and suffering from opioid-induced constipation found that while the majority of patients surveyed (58 percent) believe their doctor is concerned with helping them get faster relief for their OIC, only half of patients surveyed (50 percent) say they are informed by their doctors that taking opioid medications might result in constipation before they began taking them.
“As an organization created by people with pain for people with pain, we understand the challenges patients face from OIC,” said president and founder of U.S. Pain Foundation, Paul Gileno. “It is our goal to raise awareness and empower both physicians and chronic pain patients to adopt a ‘do ask, do tell policy’ about OIC and the best course of treatment to reduce suffering.”
Other key highlights from the survey of 441 adults include:
- Alarmingly, 77 percent of respondents report suffering from OIC for at least one year.
- More than half (53 percent) of respondents prefer that their OIC medication relieve OIC in less than four hours.
- OIC patients reported waiting 18 hours (on average) to have a bowel movement after taking their constipation medication.
- When asked, roughly one-third (32 percent) of patients reported that their doctor does not talk to them specifically about potential adverse drug-to-drug interactions (DDI) of their current prescription and/or over-the-counter medications, yet the clear majority (80 percent) of respondents reported taking five or more prescription medications on a regular basis to treat other conditions and one-fifth (20 percent) take more than 10 prescription medications.
“Salix is not only committed to the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) diseases and conditions, but is also closely focused on understanding the experiences of chronic pain patients to help doctors consider the best treatment for OIC sufferers,” said Mark McKenna, senior vice president and general manager, Salix Pharmaceuticals. “We are dedicated to helping educate physicians about OIC and available treatment options.”
To try and alleviate the pain or discomfort from their OIC, more than one third (37 percent) of patients in the survey report having changed the dosage of their opioid medication.
“Constipation is an added pain for those already suffering from chronic pain, and I think the severity of what patients have to deal with between these two conditions can best be described as ‘painstipation’,” said Joseph Pergolizzi, MD, senior partner and director of Analgesic Research at the Naples Anesthesia and Pain Associates in Southwest Florida, chairman of PAINWeek and voted One of Americas Best Doctors by The American Health Council. “Chronic pain patients and their doctors expect meaningful pain relief coupled with improvements in functionality and activities of daily living in a timely manner and the expectation for fast, effective relief when it comes to OIC should be a given.”
The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Salix Pharmaceuticals in partnership with the U.S. Pain Foundation.
About U.S. Pain Foundation
The mission of U.S. Pain Foundation is to educate, connect, inform and empower those living with pain while also advocating on behalf of the entire pain community. As a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to serving those who live with pain conditions and their care providers, U.S. Pain Foundation helps individuals find resources and inspiration. For more information on U.S. Pain Foundation, visit www.uspainfoundation.org.
Salix Pharmaceuticals Inc. is one of the largest specialty pharmaceutical companies in the world committed to the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. For almost 30 years, Salix has licensed, developed, and marketed innovative products to improve patients’ lives and arm healthcare providers with life-changing solutions for many chronic and debilitating conditions. Salix currently markets its product line to U.S. healthcare providers through an expanded sales force that focuses on gastroenterology, hepatology, pain specialists, and primary care. Salix, a wholly owned subsidiary of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (NYSE: VRX and TSX: VRX), is headquartered in Bridgewater, New Jersey. For more information on Salix Pharmaceuticals, visit www.salix.com.
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2 Andrews CN, Storr M. The pathophysiology of chronic constipation. Can J Gastroenterol. 2011;25(suppl B):16B-21B.
3 Vanegas G, Ripamonti C, Sbanotto A, De Conno F. Side effects of morphine administration in cancer patients. Cancer Nurs. 1998;21(4):289-297.
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