Research News

Long acting opioids are linked to increased risk of death

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i3313 (Published 15 June 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i3313
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

Prescription of long acting opioids for chronic non-cancer pain was associated with a significantly higher risk of all cause mortality than anticonvulsants or cyclic antidepressants, US research in JAMA has found.1

Long acting opioids have long been known to increase the risk of unintentional overdose, but this study found that more than two thirds of the excess deaths were due to other causes and that more than half were cardiovascular deaths.

The researchers compared the risk of death in patients starting long acting opioid treatment for moderate to severe chronic non-cancer pain with matched patients starting either an analgesic anticonvulsant or a low …

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