Higher opioid doses increase depression risk
Increased use of opioid medications may increase risk of depression, according to new research at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
Scientists studied the effects of rising opioid dosages on patients with chronic low back pain by analyzing questionnaires from nine different practices in Texas. The questionnaires included data about medications and years spent living with chronic pain from 355 patients, the majority of whom were female, older than 46 and Hispanic or African-American.
The study's findings, published in, the journal Pain, showed that the patients who increased opioid use over time had a higer risk of developing depression. One possible explanation, according to the scientists, is that people who had their dosages increased were those who had been taking opioids for a longer period of time.
The researchers are now comparing the effects of the duration of opioid use versus the dosage of opioids on the risk of developing depression.