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Opioids: Danger to the Heart

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Thursday, 21 September 2017 03:51 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The dangers posed by opioid drugs are making headlines because of their potential to cause accidental overdoses.

New research also finds that they increase the likelihood of heart-related death. This study involved more than 45,000 adult Medicaid patients in Tennessee from 1999 to 2012.

Subjects were prescribed drugs for chronic pain not caused by cancer but from other ailments such as persistent backaches and arthritis.

Half of the participants received long-acting opioids including oxycodone, methadone, and fentanyl skin patches. The others had prescriptions for nonopioid drugs used to treat nerve pain, or antidepressants also used for pain.

Those using opioid painkillers had a 64 percent higher risk of dying within six months of starting treatment than patients taking other prescription pain medicine.

Unintentional overdoses accounted for about 18 percent of the deaths among opioid uses, compared to 8 percent for other patients. There were 185 deaths among opioid users, versus 87 among other patients.

The researchers calculated that for every 145 patients on an opioid drug, there was one more death than on other painkillers.

Long-acting opioids remain in the body a long time. The body’s prolonged exposure to the drugs may increase risks for toxic reactions, the authors noted of the study, which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

If you use opioids, talk to your doctor immediately about taking alternative medication.

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Dr-Crandall
New research also finds that they increase the likelihood of heart-related death. This study involved more than 45,000 adult Medicaid patients in Tennessee from 1999 to 2012.
opioids, painkillers, heart health
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2017-51-21
Thursday, 21 September 2017 03:51 PM
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