Enteral naloxone for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation in the medical intensive care unit

Caitlin M. Gibson, Steven E. Pass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To determine the safety and efficacy of enteral naloxone for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation in the medical intensive care unit (MICU). Materials and Methods: This descriptive study included patients aged 18 to 89 years admitted to the MICU between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2012, who received scheduled opioids and at least 1 dose of enteral naloxone. All data were obtained from electronic charting systems. Efficacy was assessed by evaluating time to bowel movement (BM), number of naloxone doses until BM, and ability to tolerate tube feeds after receipt of enteral naloxone. Safety was assessed by comparing opioid requirements, heart rates, and systolic blood pressures before and during naloxone treatment. Results: Fifteen of the 16 patients included in the final analysis passed BMs during the study period. The median time to BM was 24.4 hours. The median number of naloxone doses received prior to passing a BM was 3. Seventy-eight percent of patients who were not receiving tube feeds at the time of naloxone administration received continuous tube feeds after naloxone initiation. No adverse effects associated with use of enteral naloxone were noted. Conclusions: Enteral naloxone appears safe for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation in the MICU. Enteral naloxone may be effective in treating opioid-induced constipation; however, further studies are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-807
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2014

Keywords

  • Constipation
  • ICU analgesia
  • Intensive care units
  • Naloxone
  • Opioid-induced constipation
  • Opioids

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