The Impact of Alvimopan on Return of Bowel Function After Major Spine Surgery - A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind Study.


Journal Article

BACKGROUND: Pain management following major spine surgery requires high doses of opioids and is associated with a risk of opioid-induced constipation. Peripheral mu-receptor antagonists decrease the gastrointestinal complications of perioperative systemic opioid administration without antagonizing the analgesic benefits of these drugs. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the impact of alvimopan in opioid-naive patients undergoing major spine surgery. METHODS: Patients undergoing >3 levels of thoracic and/or lumbar spine surgery were enrolled in this prospective, randomized, double-blind study to receive either alvimopan or placebo prior to and following surgery. Opioid consumption; pain scores; and time of first oral intake, flatus, and bowel movement were recorded. RESULTS: A total of 24 patients were assigned to the active group and 25 were assigned to the placebo group. There was no significant difference in demographics between the groups. Postoperatively, the alvimopan group reported earlier time to first solid intake [median (range): alvimopan: 15 h (3-25) vs placebo: 17 h (3-46), P < .001], passing of flatus [median (range): alvimopan: 22 h (7-63) vs placebo: 28 h (10-58), P < .001], and first bowel movement [median (range): alvimopan: 50 h (22-80) vs placebo: 64 h (40-114), P < .001]. The alvimopan group had higher pain scores (maximum, minimum, and median); however, there was no significant difference between the groups with postoperative opioid use. CONCLUSION: This study shows that the perioperative use of alvimopan significantly reduced the time to return of bowel function with no increase in postoperative opioid use despite a slight increase in pain scores.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dunn, LK; Thiele, RH; Lin, MC; Nemergut, EC; Durieux, ME; Tsang, S; Shaffrey, ME; Smith, JS; Shaffrey, CI; Naik, BI

Published Date

  • August 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 85 / 2

Start / End Page

  • E233 - E239

PubMed ID

  • 30951602

Pubmed Central ID

  • 30951602

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1524-4040

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/neuros/nyz005


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States