Don't Count on Stool Softeners for Opioid-Induced Constipation

Questions often come up about how to prevent or treat opioid-induced constipation.

Counsel patients about a bowel regimen if they start scheduled doses of an opioid for more than a few days.

Suggest starting with regular use of an OTC osmotic laxative such as polyethylene glycol (Lax-A-Day, etc). These are well tolerated...inexpensive...cause less cramping than stimulants...and are safe to use long-term for patients on chronic opioids.

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