If you're living with chronic pain, you may have been prescribed an opioid as treatment for your pain. Opioids (e.g., Codeine, hydrocodone, morphine) can help treat pain but they can also have side effects, even when taken as directed.

Opioid-induced constipation (OIC) is a common side effect of opioids.


is a different type of constipation because it’s caused by the activity of opioids in the gut.


taking an opioid for chronic pain may experience OIC.

In a study, patients who took an opioid for chronic pain reported that OIC had some moderate impact on their life.

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OIC may cause frustration, embarrassment, depression, social isolation, discomfort, and more doctors visits

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Patients who adjust their opioid medication to relieve the symptoms of OIC may experience insufficient pain management as a result

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Patients have reported discomfort talking with their doctors about OIC


  • I take an opioid to help manage chronic pain due to chronic back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, COPD or cancer
  • I've experienced new or increased constipation after starting my opioid


  • My doctor has diagnosed me with opioid-induced constipation (OIC)
  • I’ve taken/am currently taking over the counter (OTC) laxatives to help manage my OIC
  • I'm not satisfied with the current treatment I'm taking for the management of my OIC

Listen below to learn more about a treatment option.

Some Symptoms of OIC

It’s important to look for signs and symptoms of OIC, such as:

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Reduced bowel movement frequency (e.g., < 3 bowel movements per week)

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Development or worsening of straining to pass bowel movements

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Sense of incomplete evacuation

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Harder stool consistency

Treatment of OIC

There are approved medications available that can help manage OIC.

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Although commonly used to help manage OIC, OTC laxatives (e.g., Miralax®, Colace®, and Senokot®) are meant to treat occasional constipation

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Prescription medicines that target the underlying cause of OIC are available

  • Peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonists (PAMORAs) are FDA approved to help manage OIC

If you think you may be suffering from OIC, it's important to know you're not alone. Talk to your health care professional to see if a prescription treatment option may be right for you.

Listen below to learn more about a treatment option.