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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Peripherally acting mu-opioid-receptor antagonists and the connection between postoperative ileus and pain management: The anesthesiologist's view and beyond.

The adverse effects of opioids are well documented. Because opioid receptors have a wide-ranging anatomic distribution, the effects subsequent to opioid binding, both good and bad, occur centrally and in the periphery. Postoperative strategies to reduce opioid burden, therefore, are in the patient's best interest. Multimodal analgesia is the key towards balancing the need for opioids while simultaneously reducing their burden. Alternative anesthesia and analgesia options such as regional anesthesia, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme inhibitors should be considered part of multimodal protocols. Familiarity of where these drugs are active in the body and how they can be employed is imperative for all surgical team members. Optimal implementation of multimodal approaches can reduce hospital stay and improve clinical outcomes, including patient satisfaction. Finally, strategies that may help reduce rates of hospital readmission also contribute to overall improved outcome. New peripherally acting mu-opioid-receptor antagonists represent significant progress in the ability of perianesthesia nurses to play an even greater role in achieving these goals. In contrast to older opioid-receptor antagonists, these agents specifically target an important aspect of the multifactorial etiology of postoperative ileus (POI), mu-opioid-receptor-mediated activity in the GI tract. In addition, they do not pass the blood-brain barrier or diminish opioid-mediated analgesia. Advanced clinical trials have already demonstrated the ability of one of these agents, alvimopan, to reduce POI and improve other postoperative outcomes while maintaining adequate analgesia. Combined with other options aimed at reducing opioid burden, alvimopan and similar drugs in development hold promise as part of multimodal protocols to optimize pain management while minimizing postoperative morbidities.[1]


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