UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Neurogenic Bowel in Acute Rehabilitation Following Spinal Cord Injury: Impact of Laxatives and Opioids Round, Andrew M.; Joo, Min Cheol; Barakso, Carolyn M.; Fallah, Nader; Noonan, Vanessa K.; Krassioukov, Andrei V.


Objective: To explore the association between bowel dysfunction and use of laxatives and opioids in an acute rehabilitation setting following spinal cord injury (SCI). Methods: Data was collected regarding individuals with acute traumatic/non-traumatic SCI over a two-year period (2012–2013) during both the week of admission and discharge of their inpatient stay. Results: An increase in frequency of bowel movement (BM) (p = 0.003) and a decrease in frequency of fecal incontinence (FI) per week (p < 0.001) between admission and discharge was found across all participants. There was a reduction in the number of individuals using laxatives (p = 0.004) as well as the number of unique laxatives taken (p < 0.001) between admission and discharge in our cohort. The number of individuals using opioids and the average dose of opioids in morphine milligram equivalents (MME) from admission to discharge were significantly reduced (p = 0.001 and p = 0.02, respectively). There was a positive correlation between the number of laxatives and frequency of FI at discharge (r = 0.194, p = 0.014), suggesting that an increase in laxative use results in an increased frequency of FI. Finally, there was a significant negative correlation between average dose of opioids (MME) and frequency of BM at discharge, confirming the constipating effect of opioids (r = −0.20, p = 0.009).

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