PORTLAND, Ore., May 15, 2013 Regularly taking prescription painkillers, also known as opioids, is associated with a higher risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men, according to a study published online today in the journal Spine.
The researchers included more than 11,000 men with back pain in the study and examined their health records to find out if men taking prescription painkillers were more likely to also receive prescriptions for testosterone replacement or ED medications.
More than 19 percent of men who took high-dose opioids for at least four months also received ED prescriptions, while fewer than 7 percent of men who did not take opioids received ED prescriptions.
In the study, men over 60 were much more likely to receive ED prescriptions, but even after researchers adjusted for age and other factors, men taking high-dose opioids were still 50 percent more likely to receive ED prescriptions than men who did not take prescription painkillers.
"Men who take opioid pain medications for an extended period of time have the highest risk of ED," said lead author Richard A. Deyo, MD, MPH, investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research and Professor of Evidence-based Family Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.
"This doesn't mean that these medications cause ED, but the association is something patients and clinicians should be aware of when deciding if opioids should be used to treat back pain." Deyo added.
Opioid use is growing in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Mortality and Morbidity Report, prescription opioid sales quadrupled between 1999 and 2010. Another recent survey, published in the journal Pain, estimates 4.3 million adults in the U.S. use these opioid medications on a regular basis. The most commonly used prescription opioids are hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine.
"There is no question that for some
|Contact: Catherine Hylas Saunders|