Survey: Seniors not aware medicines can cause constipation

STAMFORD, Conn. — Many of this country's 80 million baby boomers who take medications for such conditions as pain, high cholesterol, hypertension and even depression are not aware that some of those medications could lead them to seek relief from occasional constipation, according to a nationwide survey of 1,150 men and women age 50 years or older taking medications for common medical conditions released by Purdue Products Wednesday.

About one-third of respondents (35%) were advised that possible side effects of their medications included occasional constipation. The survey also found that only 16% of those polled were aware that occasional constipation could be a possible side effect of their medications prior to talking to a healthcare provider. Nine-out-of-10 respondents (90%) who reported occasional constipation while taking their medication found this problem frustrating.

As many as 92% of the survey respondents said that healthcare providers should provide more information about side effects, such as occasional constipation, with particularly high agreement among people who reported suffering from occasional constipation (96%).

Occasional constipation was the side effect experienced most by survey respondents, with nearly 1-in-5 (17%) reporting they experienced increased occasional constipation since they started taking their medication.

Further, sufferers experience this problem an average of seven times per month, with a majority of respondents experiencing occasional constipation once a week or more (58%).

The vast majority of survey respondents (86%) agreed that occasional constipation can be a significant side effect of taking certain prescription medicines, with particularly high agreement among people who reported suffering from this problem (96%).

According to the survey, 86% of sufferers have taken some sort of action to relieve their occasional constipation. Specifically, they have increased their water consumption (74%), increased their fiber intake (72%) or taken stool softeners (67%).

"We commissioned this survey as part of our ongoing initiatives to provide healthcare professionals and consumers information about the importance of recognizing and relieving occasional constipation," stated Charlene Bailey, director of product management at Purdue Products. "With a majority of the consumers polled saying that occasional constipation is embarrassing to discuss and one-third of sufferers saying they have not discussed their occasional constipation with their healthcare provider, we will continue to get the word out about the treatment options available."

 


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