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United States : Constipation Linked To Narcotic Use In Sickle Cell Patients.

Sickle cell patients receiving narcotic treatments may need to be better monitored for constipation

Individuals with sickle cell suffer from painful episodes caused by sickle cells that get caught in small blood vessels and result in blood flow blockage. The frequent use of narcotics in these patients, especially in young children, is effective, but leads to mild constipation.

In addition to discomfort, studies have found that this health complication can worsen the side effects of sickle cell disease. In an effort to reduce the chances of developing constipation, medical professionals have recommended giving these individuals laxatives and stool softeners.

During a one-year study, researchers observed hospitalized sickle cell patients who were treated with narcotics and compared it to the number of individuals who received treatments to prevent constipation.

The team discovered that approximately one-third of the patients who participated in the study were not given laxatives or stool samples.

Sarah O Brien, a researcher at Nationwide Children s Hospital in Ohio, stated that "the abdomen is a well-known site of sickle cell pain." She added that "abdominal pain due to constipation may be misinterpreted as a worsening sickle cell symptoms with subsequent higher doses of narcotics and therefore worsening constipation.

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Article Type:Clinical report
Date:Jul 27, 2010
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