Indian Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 169–173 | Cite as

Small intestine strictures in opium addicts: An unrecognized cause of intestinal obstruction

  • Ashish Joshi
  • Sushil Falodia
  • Naveen Kumar
  • R. L. Solanki
Case Series


Strictures of the small intestine have been attributed many causes of Crohn’s disease, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, neoplastic, post-surgical, and corrosive ingestion. Opium as a cause of small intestine strictures has not been described. Six cases of opium addicts diagnosed with small intestine strictures were selected after excluding the possible etiology of strictures. Investigations like upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, colonoscopy (in patients with small intestinal obstruction), barium meal follow-through, and histopathology of strictures were done in all patients. Among the six cases, two patients were diagnosed with small intestinal obstruction and four patients with gastric outlet obstruction. Histopathology of the strictures revealed marked thickening of submucosa with infiltration by lymphocytes, plasma cells, and plenty of eosinophils. There was dilatation of vessels and lymphatics. The granulomatous reaction was not seen. These histological features are suggestive of concentric fibrous thickening in submucosa with stricture formation possibly as a result of drug abuse like opioids and opioid-like products resulting in transient ischemia of the small intestine leading to fibrosis. Patients were managed by surgery and deaddiction treatment was given to prevent further complications. Opium and opioid-like drugs can cause small intestinal strictures causing ulceration and fibrosis in opioid-dependent patients.


Gastric outlet obstruction Intestinal obstruction Opium Strictures 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

AJ, SF, NK, and RLS declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethics statement

Institutional ethical committee approval was taken.

Supplementary material

12664_2018_831_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (506 kb)
Supplementary Figure 1 Eosinophilic infiltration in the submucosa (JPEG 505 kb).
12664_2018_831_MOESM2_ESM.jpg (909 kb)
Supplementary Figure 2 PAS (Periodic acid schiff) staining of submucosal fibers (JPEG 908 kb).
12664_2018_831_MOESM3_ESM.jpg (267 kb)
Supplementary Figure 3 Upper GI endoscopic picture showing duodenal stricture (JPEG 266 kb).


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Copyright information

© Indian Society of Gastroenterology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GastroenterologySardar Patel Medical CollegeBikanerIndia
  2. 2.Department of General MedicineSardar Patel Medical CollegeBikanerIndia
  3. 3.Department of PathologyM N Hospital and Research CentreBikanerIndia

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