Sunday, March 06, 2016

Long-term opioid use leads to increased risk of depression

Public Release: 12-Jan-2016
Long-term opioid use associated with increased risk of depression
Study led by Saint Louis University's Dr. Jeffrey Scherrer is published in the Annals of Family Medicine
Saint Louis University

Opioids may cause short-term improvement in mood, but long-term use imposes risk of new-onset depression, a Saint Louis University study shows.


Jeffrey Scherrer, Ph.D., associate professor for family and community medicine at Saint Louis University, and his co-authors speculate that findings may be explained by long-term opioid use of more than 30 days leading to changes in neuroanatomy and low testosterone, among other possible biological explanations. The link was independent of the known contribution of pain to depression, and the study calls on clinicians to consider the contribution of opioid use when depressed mood develops in their patients.

"Opioid-related new onset of depression is associated with longer duration of use but not dose," Scherrer wrote. "Patients and practitioners should be aware that opioid analgesic use of longer than 30 days imposes risk of new-onset depression."


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