Treatment of Opioid Induced Constipation

Opioids are the most commonly prescribed medication for the treatment of severe pain. However, opioid use can produced multiple adverse side-effects which include drug abuse, dependence, and constipation. These side-effects are mostly attributed to opioid binding at mu opioid receptors in the central nervous system.

The technology

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have developed a nanoparticle-based opioid conjugate that has increased bioavailability and carrying capacity of a peripheral nervous system selective opioid antagonist. This conjugate has excellent oral availability and half-life with the potential to treat opioid induced constipation. Nanoparticle-based delivery systems provide additional stability to the opioid ligand, and produces very low therapeutic side effects.

Chart showing P(EAMO)-NAP-PEG effects on intestinal motility in acute morphine treated mice through oral administration [View Image]

Figure 1. P(EAMO)-NAP-PEG effects on intestinal motility in acute morphine treated mice through oral administration.

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  • Treat constipation without compromising pain relief of opioids
    • No opioid abuse liability
    • No opioid dependence
    • Does not affect the CNS
  • Low dose requirement with slow release potential


  • Opioid induced constipation


PartnerSTANDARD (Traditional)

Additional information


Yan Zhang, Ph.D.
Dana Selley, Ph.D.
William Dewey, Ph.D.
Hamid Akbarali, Ph.D.

External resources:

In vitro and in vivo data available

Patent status:

Patent issued: U.S. rights are available. 15/998,948

License status:

This technology is available for licensing to industry for further development and commercialization.



VCU Tech #:

13-106, 16-003

Contact us about
this technology

Magdalena K. Morgan, Ph.D.
Licensing Associate
(804) 827-6095