08 Fowler’s Syndrome & Opiates

This is the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle of Fowler’s syndrome and it is something that has only come to light in the last 5 years. It became increasingly clear that a number of young women with urinary retention were taking forms of opiate pain killers as prescription pills or patches. Indeed as described in a recent series of 62 women coming to our clinic with retention, about one third –all those stripy slices in the pie diagram shown below, were taking some form of opiate pain killer. These included  tramadol, pethidine, morphine (Morphgesic SR, MXL, Zomorph, MST, MXL, Sevredol, Oramorph)  and Fentanyl. The medication had usually been prescribed by a pain clinic where the woman had been referred with chronic back pain and or some other skeletal pain or pelvic pain often endometriosis. An important observation was that of all the women, tests showed that one third did have Fowler’s syndrome but a quarter of the women with Fowler’s syndrome were taking opiate medications.

Analysis of causes of urinary retention in 61 women

Analysis of causes of urinary retention in 61 women