Breaking News
May 24, 2018 - Robust Immune Responses for Herpes Zoster Subunit Vaccine
May 24, 2018 - Optical Coherence Tomography | Texas Heart Institute
May 24, 2018 - Type 2 diabetes slowly rising in Auckland kids – Pacific and Māori have highest rates
May 24, 2018 - Study explores brain chemistry of alcohol exposure in people with family history of AUD
May 24, 2018 - Study shows AVATS procedure as safe, effective alternative for patients deemed ‘inoperable’
May 24, 2018 - Comparative Analysis of a Complex Monoclonal Antibody
May 24, 2018 - Penn investigators discover source of immune molecule involved in nasal polyps, asthma
May 24, 2018 - Berries and Grapes May Keep You Breathin’ Easy
May 24, 2018 - Access and utilization of dental services for Medicaid children 2013-2015
May 23, 2018 - New research raises concern about rate of postpartum hemorrhage
May 23, 2018 - Researchers create new modeling framework that takes a zoonotic perspective on Ebola
May 23, 2018 - Study compares bacteria in humans to the laboratory
May 23, 2018 - Frequent sauna bathing reduces risk of stroke
May 23, 2018 - Landmark trial to test implantable defibrillator in diabetic patients with history of heart attack
May 23, 2018 - Vitamin C consumption may reduce harm to baby’s lungs due to smoking during pregnancy
May 23, 2018 - Researchers complete genomic map of chronic lymphocytic leukemia
May 23, 2018 - Medical students take to the streets to learn about real world problems at the root of poor health
May 23, 2018 - New efforts to curb high blood pressure in Asia
May 23, 2018 - Malaria-causing parasite seeks refuge inside the liver to replicate and survive
May 23, 2018 - Slower rates of stimulation may be more effective in brain therapy, suggests research
May 23, 2018 - Study finds connection between one partner’s BMI and other spouse’s risk of developing diabetes
May 23, 2018 - Mapping the Genes Responsible for Pluripotency
May 23, 2018 - FDA Alert: Homeopathic Teething Drops, Nausea Drops, Intestinal Colic Drops, Stomach Calm, Expectorant Cough Syrup, Silver-Zinc Throat Spray, and Argentum Elixir by MBI Distributing: Recall
May 23, 2018 - Genetic fixer-uppers may predict bladder cancer prognosis
May 23, 2018 - Investigational technology could increase donor organ supply for lung transplants
May 23, 2018 - Prediabetic patients with OSA could lower their resting heart rates by using CPAP
May 23, 2018 - Schizophrenics’ blood samples feature genetic material from more types of microorganisms
May 23, 2018 - Subtle hearing deficits can change the brains of young people
May 23, 2018 - New study shows increased rates of hospitalization for suicide among youths
May 23, 2018 - Proportion of Drug-Intoxicated Organ Donors on the Rise in U.S.
May 23, 2018 - Using virtual biopsies to improve melanoma detection
May 23, 2018 - Compassion meditation training may increase brain’s resilience to suffering of other people
May 23, 2018 - New AAD PSA uses social media imagery to highlight tanning hazards
May 23, 2018 - Frequent MRSA surveillance could contain infection in newborns, study finds
May 23, 2018 - Medicaid expansion linked to reduction in ICU utilization
May 23, 2018 - Proteins moderating nicotine dependence may help fat cells burn energy
May 23, 2018 - Researchers identify mechanisms that regulate mammary gland development
May 23, 2018 - ‘Low-Alcohol’ Booze Labels May Backfire
May 23, 2018 - Social isolation could increase risk of death, hospitalizations for heart failure patients
May 23, 2018 - New research shows that children with autism are able to create imaginary friends
May 23, 2018 - New technology could make prosthetic use more intuitive and reliable
May 23, 2018 - HU researchers explore how simulated microgravity affects gene expression, muscle cell differentiation
May 23, 2018 - Researchers develop injectable bandage to stop fatal blood loss, activate wound healing
May 23, 2018 - Exercising for 4-5 days per week is needed to keep the heart young
May 23, 2018 - Porvair Sciences offers wide range of reagent reservoirs for use with automated liquid handling systems
May 23, 2018 - New study unravels secrets of HIV’s persistence
May 23, 2018 - IDF launches initiative to improve health services for displaced people with diabetes
May 23, 2018 - Maintaining healthy weight between early adulthood and middle age could help avoid diabetes
May 23, 2018 - DNA vaccine shows promise for colorectal cancer
May 23, 2018 - Abnormal brain connections seen in preschoolers with autism
May 23, 2018 - Study finds increase in number of calls to US Poison Control Centers about ADHD medication exposures
May 23, 2018 - Yoghurt before a meal packed with health benefits
May 23, 2018 - New tool predicts the lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s
May 23, 2018 - Scientists reveal mechanisms that may help preterm infants extend nephron development window
May 23, 2018 - Unnecessary antibiotic use for asthma exacerbations linked to increased hospital stays, costs
May 23, 2018 - Quitting cigarettes linked to better lung health than long-term light smoking
May 23, 2018 - Researchers shed light on how androgen deprivation therapy increases risk for cardiovascular mortality
May 23, 2018 - Ingesting blue dye tablet during colonoscopy aids in detecting difficult-to-see polyps
May 23, 2018 - Patients with low-back pain benefit from early physical therapy
May 23, 2018 - Researchers discover link between tuberculosis and Parkinson’s disease
May 23, 2018 - FDA Approves Doptelet (avatrombopag) for Chronic Liver Disease Patients with Thrombocytopenia who are Undergoing a Medical Procedure
May 23, 2018 - Is knee pain linked to depression?
May 23, 2018 - Research team uncovers new information that more accurately explains formation of tumors
May 23, 2018 - Brain stimulation shows promise in treating obesity by reducing food cravings
May 23, 2018 - Mediterranean diet may protect people from negative effects of air pollution
May 23, 2018 - Researcher aims to develop virtual biopsy tool for early melanoma detection
May 23, 2018 - Medical centers more willing to perform lung transplants for severe alcoholic hepatitis patients
May 23, 2018 - The brain may tune to social learning even at rest, finds study
May 23, 2018 - Eczema drug alleviates asthma symptoms and improves lung function
May 23, 2018 - Researchers to test two-pronged approach in humans to treat advanced colorectal cancer
May 23, 2018 - FDA Alert: Juluca, Tivicay, Triumeq (dolutegravir): FDA to Evaluate
May 23, 2018 - Neuroscientists say daily ibuprofen can prevent Alzheimer’s disease
May 23, 2018 - Scientists decipher workings of little-understood bacterial riboswitch
May 23, 2018 - Investigational drug offers hope of relief for celiac disease patients exposed to gluten
May 23, 2018 - PCI along with prescribed drugs better than medication alone for treating for people with heart disease
May 23, 2018 - ToolGen’s CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing platform improves T-cell anti-tumor activity in mouse model
May 22, 2018 - FDA approves new drug to treat thrombocytopenia in adults with chronic liver disease
May 22, 2018 - CSIRO study urges Australians to avoid junk protein foods for healthy weight loss
May 22, 2018 - Breath Test Shows Promise for Diagnosis of Esophagogastric CA
May 22, 2018 - Common class of drugs linked to dementia even when taken 20 years before diagnosis
Dangers of commonly prescribed painkillers highlighted in study

Dangers of commonly prescribed painkillers highlighted in study

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Credit: Susan Buck Ms/Public Domain

Commonly prescribed painkillers need to be given for shorter periods of time to reduce the risk of obesity and sleep deprivation, a new study has revealed.

Over the past 10 years, there has been a large increase in the prescription of medications such as opioids and some antidepressants for chronic pain management.

Experts at Newcastle University, UK, have today published a study in the academic journal, PLOS ONE, which shows the serious impact of these medications and highlights the need to reduce their use.

Findings show that medications commonly used to treat pain, like gabapentinoids such as gabapentin, pregabilin and opiates, doubled the risk of obesity and were associated with poor sleep.

Study’s findings

Scientists assessed the cardio-metabolic health – the inter-relationship between metabolic and cardiovascular disease – in more than 133,000 participants from the UK Biobank.

Body Mass Index, waist circumference and blood pressure were compared between those taking painkillers for chronic, non-cancer pain and cardio-metabolic drugs, compared to those prescribed cardio-metabolic treatment only.

Conditions that can require the use of this treatment include migraine, diabetic neuropathy and chronic lower back pain.

In 2016, 24 million opiates prescriptions were issued in the UK, exactly double the amount of 2006. Two years ago, 11,000 patients were admitted to hospital due to an opiate overdose.

Findings of the new study show people on opiates and cardio-metabolic drugs reported 95% rates of obesity, 82% ‘very high’ waist circumference and 63% hypertension, as opposed to those on cardio-metabolic drugs only.

Results suggest that chronic pain medications should be prescribed for shorter periods of time to limit serious health complications.

Dr Sophie Cassidy, Research Associate at the Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, is lead author of the study.

She said: “In the last two decades there has been a significant increase in the number of people being prescribed both opioid and non-opioid medications to treat chronic pain.

“However, this is the largest study looking at the links between commonly prescribed painkillers and cardio-metabolic health.

“We already know that opiates are dependency-forming but this study also found patients taking opiates have the worst health. Obesity rates are much higher and the patients reported sleeping poorly.

“These results add further weight to calls for these chronic pain medications to be prescribed for shorter periods.”

Dangers of opioids

Opioids are recognised as being among the most dangerous prescription painkillers because they are addictive which can lead to them being abused. Patients can require continuous use of the drugs to feel normal and avoid symptoms of withdrawal.

In the last decade, the number prescribed has doubled and long-term use has become increasingly controversial as the medication causes sleep disorders, daytime sedation and accidental overdose.

Dr Kirstie Anderson, Honorary Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University and Consultant Neurologist at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, co-author of the study, says the findings highlight the risks of overusing strong painkillers.

She said: “There has been recent concern about the addictive nature of opioids and a large number of side-effects, including worsening overnight breathing and therefore disturbing sleep.

“Few studies have looked at the impact of these drugs on metabolism. Our study is the largest of its kind to look at this group of drugs and show an association between obesity and poor sleep.

“Further studies are need to understand how the drugs may affect metabolism over time.”

Weight gain

There are a number of possible reasons why opioids can be associated with significant weight gain and obesity.

For example, they can act as a sedative which makes patients less active and they have been shown to alter taste perception with a craving for sugar and sweet foods.

Opioids are also known to worsen snoring and untreated sleep apnea, as well as causing problems with nocturnal hypertension.


Explore further:
Gabapentin co-use may increase risk of fatal opioid overdose

More information:
Sophie Cassidy et al, The cardio-metabolic impact of taking commonly prescribed analgesic drugs in 133,401 UK Biobank participants, PLOS ONE (2017). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187982

Journal reference:
PLoS ONE

Provided by:
Newcastle University

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles