Opioids Disturb Hormones, but Function Improves

Study Suggests High – Dose Opioids Disturb Hormones Long Term, but Mental and Physiologic Function Improves   April 11, 2013

Notice the high number number of patients (all) reporting significant improvement in quality of life, versus how many also showed hormonal disruption.  The hormonal disruption definitely didn’t affect their quality of life as much as pain did.

Half of patients … had hormonal disturbances or signs of inflammation, while 100% reported improved pain control and mental outlook.

The results present rare data on the effects of opioids beyond 10 years. Most clinical trials that examine opioid use are of short duration, and little is known about long – term outcomes, particularly in patients who suffer from noncancer pain.

The 40 patients included in the study… Each had been taking a high dose of opioid therapy, defined as more than 100 mg equivalence of morphine a day, for 10 or more years. Each complained of constant, debilitating pain that was classified as intractable, which is defined in California as incurable by any known means. They had tried many non – opioid methods to try to control their pain. Every patient in the study also suffered from severe insomnia.

All 40 patients reported improvements in depression, hopelessness and quality of life and sustained pain control that accompanied a stable opioid dosage.  In addition, all  patients reported improvements in at least 1 physiologic function . Categories in which at least 20 patients noted improvements were concentration (27 or 67.5 percent), walking (25 or 62.5 percent) , appetite (20 or 50 percent) and movement (31 or 77.5 percent).  Seventeen or 62.5 percent of patients reported improvements to sleeping.

Eight patients (20 percent) had hormonal suppression as follows : ACTH in 2 (5 percent), cortisol in 3 (7.5 percent) , testosterone in 2 (5 percent) and pregnenolone in 4 ( 10 percent) of patients .  Three patients (7.5 percent) had one or more serum elevations of a hormone as follows: ACTH in 1 (2.5 percent) , cortisol in 2 ( 5 percent) and pregnenolone in 1 ( 2.5 percent). Nine patients (22.5 percent) had an elevated CRP or ESR.

1 thought on “Opioids Disturb Hormones, but Function Improves

  1. Pingback: Damage from Uncontrolled Chronic Pain | EDS and Chronic Pain News & Info

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