Constipation Severity and Quality of Life among Patients with Cancer Who Received Prophylactic Laxatives: Quasi-Experimental Study

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Clinical Nursing Department, School of Nursing, the Universe of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.

2 Palliative Care and Pain Management, School of Nursing, Al-Zaytoonah University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.


Background: Prophylactic laxatives were associated with decreasing the incidence of Opioid-induced constipation among patients with cancer. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of early prophylactic laxatives therapy on the severity of constipation and quality of life among patients with cancer receiving opioids. Methods: Using a quasi-experimental design with 64 patients assigned to control group and 66 patients assigned to intervention group. The final sample was composed from 112 patients (57 in control group and 55 in intervention group), who were selected from an oncology clinic. Patients in the intervention group have received prophylactical laxatives The intervention included an oral colonic stimulant laxative (i.e., Bisacodyl, Dose= 3 tab/ day and/or Senna 6.8 mg twice daily) and an oral colonic osmotic laxative (i.e., Lactulose, Dose = 15 ml three times per day). Patients in the control group continue to receive their routine care without laxatives. Results: Patients in the intervention group have reported a significant reduction in the severity of constipation symptoms at eight weeks post the intervention (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the patients in the intervention group have revealed a significant improvement in their quality of life (QoL) (p< 0.001). Conclusions: Patients with cancer need to use the first line of laxatives as prophylactic alongside with opioids to minimize the severity of Opioid-induced constipation symptoms and to enhance the QoL.


Main Subjects