Study Claims Long-Term Opioid Use May Trigger New-Onset Depression

Category: Others/ Misc

Presentation Description

Opioids, which may cause temporary improvements in mood, can rarely cause addiction when used short-term for medical purposes. However, its long-term use creates a risk for onset of a new case of depression, apart from other complications, according to a recent study by the Saint Louis University.


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Study Claims Long-Term Opioid Use May Trigger New-Onset Depression Opioids which may cause temporary improvements in mood can rarely cause addiction when used short- term for medical purposes. However its long-term use creates a risk for onset of a new case of depression apart from other complications according to a recent study by the Saint Louis University. The study titled “Prescription Opioid Duration Dose and Increased Risk of Depression in 3 Large Patient Populations” revealed that long-term opioid use of more than 30 days may lead to changes in neuroanatomy and low testosterone apart from other possible biological explanations. Lead researcher Jeffrey Scherrer Ph.D. associate professor of family and community medicine at Saint Louis University and the coauthors said that the findings were independent of the already known contribution of pain to cause depression. The study published in the Annals of Family Medicine in January 2016 called for more extensive research on the subject and urged clinicians not to prescribe opioids indiscriminately when depressed mood develops in their patients. Opioid analgesic use and risk of new-onset depression Scherrer said “Opioid-related new onset of depression is associated with longer duration of use but not dose. Patients and practitioners should be aware that opioid analgesic use of longer than 30 days imposes risk of new-onset depression.” Additional researches to identify patients who are most vulnerable to opioid-related depression is the need of the hour the researchers said. The researchers collated data from the Veterans Health Administration VHA Baylor Scott White Health BSWH and the Henry Ford Health System HFHS during 2000-2012. They analyzed data of 70997 VHA patients 13777 BSWH patients and 22981 patients from HFHS. Aged between 8 and 80 the patients were new opioid users who did not have any prior diagnosis of depression at the time of starting the medication.

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Based on Scherrer’s previous research of VA patients and opioids the latest study aimed at getting the following information: • Whether using an opioid for a longer period is linked to new-onset depression even when there is a controlled dosage • Whether a higher dosage of opioid results in new-onset depression after adjusting for duration • Whether opioid analgesic use triggers new-onset depression in patients from VHA patient data • Whether there is a generalization of results in two separate healthcare reports Researchers against opioids for long-term treatment for depression The results showed that the opioid analgesic use resulted in a new-onset depression in patients. Some 12 percent of the VHA sample 9 percent of the BSWH sample and 11 percent of the HFHS sample reported having experienced new-onset depression after the opioid analgesic use. Scherrer said the results were remarkably consistent across the three healthcare systems despite all of them having different patient characteristics and demographics. In all the three patient samples it showed that longer duration of opioid analgesic use triggered new-onset depression after controlling for pain and daily morphine equivalent doses. The researchers advised against prescribing opioids as an effective long-term treatment for depression. Due to limited research on the efficacy of opioids in depression treatment short follow-up times and lack of control groups it further complicates matters in arriving at a conclusion. Available treatment options Prescription drug abuse in the U.S. has reached the level of an epidemic taking the country by storm. Experts feel that more and more treatment avenues should be available to the general population to counter the malady. California also has some of the best prescription drug treatment centers in the country. If a loved one is addicted to any prescription drug and you are scouting for prescription drug addiction treatment centers in California it is time to get in touch with the California Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline. Call anytime at our helpline number 855-738-2770 for immediate assistance. Our expert members can connect you to a treatment center that best suits your needs. For more information please visit

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