Opioids Linked to Higher Risk of Pneumonia in Older Adults

Risks highest for long-acting opioids and new use, says Group Health study

Opioids – a class of medicines commonly given for pain — were associated with a higher risk of pneumonia in a study of 3,061 adults, aged 65 to 94, e-published in advance of publication in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The study from researchers at Group Health Research Institute and the University of Washington (UW) also found that benzodiazepines, which are drugs generally given for insomnia and anxiety, did not affect pneumonia risk.

“Pneumonia is a common infection that can have serious consequences in older adults,” said study leader Sascha Dublin, MD, Ph.D, a Group Health Research Institute assistant investigator and Group Health primary care physician.

“Opioids and benzodiazepines work in different ways, but both can decrease the breathing rate. Both are also sedatives, which can increase the risk of aspiration.” Aspiration is inhaling material (including saliva or food particles) from the mouth into the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia.

A 2009 study estimated that two million Americans Continue reading

How to Get Off Painkillers

Getting off painkillers is not easy for anyone who suffers chronic pain. But while giving up these drugs can give you a significantly better quality of life, to successfully leave these drugs behind, you need a definitive plan and a concrete strategy.

Chronic Pain

From headaches to arthritis to back pain, chronically recurring pain is all too real for those who suffer.

However, many people’s chronic pain has no clear cause. Chronic pain is a complex puzzle. Myriad thoughts and feelings contribute to pain perception. Psychological factors complicate the situation. And the thoughts and feelings associated  Continue reading

Over-the-Counter Painkillers Can Become Addictive Within Just 3 Days

LONDON – Popular painkillers, which are routinely used to ease headaches, back problems and period pain, can cause addiction in just three days, the UK Government’s drug watchdog has warned.

The drugs, which contain codeine and include brand names such as Nurofen Plus and Solpadeine Plus, are taken by millions of people. However, official figures have shown that tens of thousands of people have become dependent on the drugs, many accidentally, with women most at risk of developing an addiction.

Growing concern about the spread of what experts describe as a ‘hidden addiction’, has led the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to announce a series of measures to counter the problem, reports The Telegraph.

Packets size will be limited to just 32 tablets with larger packs available only by prescription in a bid to curb misuse.

Clear and ‘prominently positioned’ warnings will be put on the front of packs and accompanying patient information leaflets, stating: ‘Can cause addiction. For three days use only.’

Advertising will no longer state that the drugs are remedies for things like coughs and colds and only that they are acute and moderate pain.