What You’ll Learn

  1. Describe impact of constipation on quality of life for patients with serious illness
  2. Describe the assessment of constipation and potential etiologies, with particular attention to the use of opioids.
  3. Discuss evidence-based pharmacologic interventions for constipation.
  4. List foods that can be used as non-pharmacologic interventions for constipation.
  5. Discuss the evidence for popular complementary approaches for constipation.

What You’ll Earn

After completing the course, you’ll earn a Verification of Attendance certificate.

Only CAPC members who are logged in can earn the following free Continuing Education Credits:

  • Case Management: 1.25 CE
  • Medicine: 1.00 CME, 1.00 ABIM MOC (Medical Knowledge Only)
  • Nursing: 1.00 CNE, 0.60 Pharmacotherapy
  • Social Work: 1.00 CE (NASW)
  • Social Work: 1.00 CE (NYSED)

This course is open-to-all at no cost.


Take the course


Download your certificate

Tools & Resources

Commonly Prescribed Laxatives

Medications and dosing guidance for stimulant and osmotic laxatives. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2017.

Symptom Management Glossary

Key terms related to symptom management. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2017.

Course References: Constipation in Patients with Serious Illness

Course citations. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2021.

Opioid Risk Tool (ORT)

Adapted from the Opioid Risk Tool questionnaire developed by Lynn R. Webster, MD to assess risk of opioid use disorder. This adapted version uses currently recommended terminology, for example ‘opioid use disorder’ and ‘substance use disorder’.

Fast Fact #15: Constipation

Mechanisms of constipation and best approaches to treatment.

Fast Fact #294: Opioid Induced Constipation Part 1: Established Management Strategies

Non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic approaches to managing opioid-induced constipation.

Fast Fact #295: Opioid Induced Constipation Part II: Newer Therapies

Treating opioid-induced constipation, including how and when to use newer therapies.

Sean M. Marks, MD. Associate Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin.

Brittany Chambers, MPH, MCHES. Associate Director of Education, Center to Advance Palliative Care.

Brynne Hunter, MSIT. Education Technology Project Manager, Center to Advance Palliative Care.

Drew Rosielle, MD, FAAHPM. Palliative Care, Fairview Health Services, University of Minnesota Medical School.

Lolita Melhado, MSN, ARNP, FNP-BC. Family Nurse Practitioner/Palliative Care, Gulf Coast Medical Center - Lee Memorial Health System.

Philip Higgins, PhD, LICSW. President, Lighthouse Counseling of Salem, Inc.

Karl Bezak, MD. Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, University of Pittsburgh (UPMC).*

Nora Brennan, RN. Cardiology, University of Pennsylvania Hospital System.

Dara Duncan, RN. Hospice and Palliative Care Registered Nurse, Wiener Family Palliative Care Unit
Mount Sinai Hospital.

Gabrielle Langmann, MD. Clinical Instructor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Master’s of Science in Medical Education Candidate, University of Pittsburgh.*

Ayla Pelleg, MD. Assistant Professor, Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

*indicates ABIM Peer Reviewer

Contact information: For technical questions about course activity, contact the Education department at 347-802-7310. For questions about continuing education credits, contact 201-957-0077.

Provided by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.