Opioid Abuse can be Dangerous for People with Chronic Back Pain

According to a latest study, people who suffer from chronic back pain, and have anxiety or depression, have 75% higher chance for opioid abuse. The study was published in the Online first edition of Anesthesiology, the medical journal of the ASA (American Society of Anesthesiologists). Researchers analyzed people treated with opioids for their lower back pain. They found that those who suffered from a psychiatric disorder (anxiety or depression) were more likely to abuse opioids. 

The study included 55 patients. All of the suffered from chronic back pain and all of them experienced low-to-high levels of anxiety or depression. Patents were given oxycodone, morphine or a placebo for a period of 6 months. Researchers monitored their doses and pain levels. They found that people with anxiety and depression increased their side effects. Those patients also recorded 75% higher opioid abuse and 50% less improvement compared to patients who had low levels of anxiety or depression. In the past, drug abuse has been linked to illegal substances. However, there is evidence that prescription drugs may lead to addiction. A few years ago, the abuse of prescription drugs was categorized as an ‘’epidemic’’. 

Prof. Ajay Wasan from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine, said that it is important to identify patients with anxiety or depression problems before determine their therapy. If not treated properly, those people can increase health risks and can get addicted to opioids. He also said that people with aforementioned psychiatric disorders should have treatments for their conditions, because this may ease their pain relief as well. Opioids can block receptors in certain parts of the body and block the ability to feel the pain.  



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