Opioid induced constipation QI program

This education is now closed for enrolments.

QI Program aim

This Quality Improvement (QI) Program aims to improve the management and quality of life in patients taking opioids and experiencing constipation.

Learning objectives

By completing this learning activity, participants will be able to:

  • Know how to diagnose OIC (including an awareness of the barriers to diagnosis) and assess the severity and impacts of OIC.
  • Recognise the importance of non-pharmacological approaches to managing OIC. 
  • Understand the importance of taking a laxative use history and monitoring laxative use in patients with OIC.
  • Undertake opioid-switching, and understand the efficacy and safety of opioid receptor antagonists in the management of OIC.
  • Make treatment choices based on best practice and available evidence, and ensure patient safety by regular review and monitoring.

This activity is sponsored by Mundipharma.

Why take part in this program?
  1. Improve your consultations with a step-by-step process of best practice and guidelines.
  2. Measure and improve function in 5 patients taking opioids and experiencing constipation.
  3. Earn up to 40 RACGP QI&CPD points or 30 ACRRM PDP points upon completion.
Inclusion criteria
Patients who are:
  1. Regularly taking an opioid analgesic for chronic pain (either cancer-related or non-cancer chronic pain)
  2. Currently experiencing constipation
How long should it take?

The program has been designed to take approximately 4-6 weeks to complete. This includes patient recall from your practice, patient consult and program evaluation.

Steps to proceed

What the GP needs to do:

  • Log in or register to ThinkGP
  • Use the 'Click here to proceed' button to get started
1. Pre-test

This activity provides background information and current best practice in managing opioid-induced constipation, as well as a number of questions for you to reflect upon your current practice.

You will need to complete this 10-minute activity before you can start entering the 5 patients.

2. Tips to identify 5 patients

1. Consider a patient being consulted for chronic pain.

2. Perform a search on your practice software using the following search criteria: (Please consult your practice software help or support function if required)

  • Prescription: Long-acting opioid analgesic for chronic pain (either cancer-related or non-cancer chronic pain)
  • Experiencing constipation.

3. Recall these patients for a consultation. Click here to download a recall letter that can be mail merged using your practice software or handed out by your practice nurse.

3. Assess each patient and enter data

During the consultation, fill out the patient entry form and assess the below factors for the patient.

  • Current medication
  • Symptoms and signs
  • Comorbidities
  • Non-pharmacological management
4. Action

Upon entering the patient data, a management plan tailored to each specific patient will be automatically generated and displayed on the patient entry form based on the below factors.

  • Symptoms and signs
  • Efficacy of current medication
  • Comorbidities and medicine interactions
  • Non-pharmacological management methods

Discuss these recommendations with the patient based on current evidence and best practice, and commence or alter a management plan as necessary.

5. Data review and evaluation

Once you have entered data for 5 patients, review your results, evaluate the QI program process and undertake a reflective activity.

6. CPD Points

Completion of this activity will award you 40 RACGP QI&CPD points, or 30 ACRRM PDP points.

If a nurse assisted you in completing the program and wants to claim CPD points download a certificate here.


Content partners: 
Opioid Induced Constipation – Pre-Test
Opioid Induced Constipation - Declaration
Opioid Induced Constipation – Patient Entry
Opioid Induced Constipation – Management Review
Opioid Induced Constipation - Evaluation