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Papers of the Week

Papers: 7 Mar 2020 - 13 Mar 2020

Pharmacology/Drug Development


J Pain Res


Peripheral Opioid Receptor Antagonists for Opioid-Induced Constipation: A Primer on Pharmacokinetic Variabilities with a Focus on Drug Interactions.


Opioid analgesics remain a treatment option for refractory acute and chronic pain, despite their potential risk for abuse and adverse events (AEs). Opioids are associated with several common AEs, but the most bothersome is opioid-induced constipation (OIC). OIC is often overlooked but has the potential to affect patient quality of life, increase associated symptom burden, and impede long-term opioid compliance. The peripherally acting µ-receptor antagonists (PAMORAs) are a class of drugs that include methylnaltrexone, naloxegol, and naldemedine. Collectively, each is approved for the treatment of OIC. PAMORAs work peripherally in the gastrointestinal tract, without impacting the central analgesic effects of opioids. However, each has unique pharmacokinetic properties that may be impacted by coadministered drugs or food. This review focuses on important metabolic and pharmacokinetic principals that are pertinent to drug interactions involving µ-opioid receptor antagonists prescribed for OIC. It highlights subtle differences among the PAMORAs that may have clinical significance. For example, unlike naloxegol or naldemedine, methylnaltrexone is not a substrate for CYP3A4 or p-glycoprotein; therefore, its plasma concentration is not altered when coadministered with concomitant medications that are CYP3A4 or p-glycoprotein inducers or inhibitors. With a better understanding of pharmacokinetic nuances of each PAMORA, clinicians will be better equipped to identify potential safety and efficacy considerations that may arise when PAMORAs are coadministered with other medications.