Navigation Links
Men taking long-acting chronic pain meds 5xs more likely to have low testosterone levels

OAKLAND, Calif., January 31, 2013 Low testosterone levels occur five times more often among men who take long-acting instead of short-acting opioids for chronic pain, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in The Clinical Journal of Pain.

While it has been known that opioids cause low testosterone in men, this study is the first to show a significant difference in risk between short-acting (immediate release) and long-acting opioids.

The 81 men in the retrospective study were between 26 and 79 years old (median age 51) and were seen in the chronic-pain clinic at Kaiser Permanente's Santa Rosa Medical Center (Calif.) between January 2009 and June 2010. All of the participants had been on a stable dose of an opioid for at least three months, and none had a previous diagnosis of low testosterone. A larger retrospective study of more than 1,500 male pain patients is currently under way.

"There's a large gap in the evidence base with regard to opioids," said Andrea Rubinstein, MD, of the Departments of Chronic Pain and Anesthesiology, Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center. "More safety and efficacy studies are needed. We need to know how we can prescribe these very useful medications in a way that brings the greatest benefits to our patients, without introducing additional risks."

Once prescribed primarily to cancer patients, the use of opioid-based medications such as oxycodone (Oxycontin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) for treating chronic, non-cancer pain has increased dramatically in recent decades. An estimated 4.3 million Americans use opioids on a daily basis for pain.

"For years, doctors have been encouraged to prescribe long-acting opioids rather than short-acting opioids because we believed they were safer, had less abuse potential, and offered more consistent pain control, but no study has ever been able to support this practice," Dr. Rubinstein said.

The study compared the use of short-acting opioids, which immediately release the pain medication and are taken every four to six hours, and long-acting opioids, which slowly release the pain medication and are taken every eight to 12 hours.

A healthy young man should have testosterone levels between 300 and 800 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL); in this study, low testosterone, also known as hypogonadism, was defined as less than 250 ng/dL. Low testosterone levels have been associated with decreases in muscle mass, bone density (osteoporosis or osteopenia), cognition, mood, libido (sex drive) and general quality of life.

Seventy-four percent of the men on long-acting opioids had low testosterone levels, compared with 34 percent of the men using short-acting opioids. After controlling for daily dosage and body mass index, the study found that the odds of having low testosterone were 4.78 times greater for men taking a long-acting opioid than a short-acting opioid. Dose was not associated with an increased risk of low testosterone.

"These medications work well for short-term, acute pain," said Dr. Rubinstein. "It has long been extrapolated that they can also be used safely long-term to control chronic pain. We are now finding that the long-term use of opioids may have important unintended health consequences."


Contact: Vincent Staupe
Kaiser Permanente

Related medicine news :

1. The US Drug Watchdog Now Urges Young Women Who Suffered a Heart Attack or Blood Clotting After Taking Yaz or Yasmin Birth Control Pills to Contact the Johnson Law Group
2. Eat Too Much While Watching TV? Try Taking Smaller Bites
3. Why good resolutions about taking up a physical activity can be hard to keep
4. Mistaking OCD for ADHD has serious consequences
5. Gen X overtaking baby boomers on obesity
6. Millions May Be Taking Vitamin D Unnecessarily, Analysis Suggests
7. Year of Taking Risky Blood Thinners May Be Unnecessary After Stent Surgery
8. Taking Breaks From Prostate Cancer Hormone Therapy Seems Safe: Study
9. Children taking steroids for asthma are slightly shorter than peers
10. Many Teens Drinking, Taking Drugs During School: Survey
11. More Kids Taking Antipsychotics for ADHD: Study
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Smiles by Stevens is ... and moderate facial wrinkling. While many patients are aware of the benefits of Botox® ... Botox® delivers to those suffering with discomfort, soreness, and pain as a result of ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Evanston, IL (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... homage to six decades of music, friendships, and learning in its 65th Anniversary ... be held Dec. 5-6. , For 65 years, Brillianteen has been ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... Today, ... on our nation’s roadways has dropped below 10,000 for the first time since 2011. ... in 2013. , According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... my cancer, I found that regular bras were incredibly uncomfortable," said an inventor ... this specialized bra." , She developed the patent-pending RECOVERY BRA for added comfort ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... Many people know of the common symptoms of low thyroid hormone (also known ... people who find their cholesterol levels and weight are creeping up are more likely ... don’t have any of the other symptoms. , Thyroid hormone plays a major role ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 ... has announced the addition of the  ... in the European Therapeutic Drug Monitoring ... Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities"  report ... ) has announced the addition ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... addition of the  "2016 Future Horizons ... Cell Surface Marker Testing Market: Supplier ... to their offering.  --> ... of the  "2016 Future Horizons and ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... WOODBURY, N.Y. , Nov. 25, 2015  Linden ... access and optimizing treatment outcomes for patients suffering from ... its request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) enjoining ... between the two companies. --> ... aggressively pursuing all of its legal options. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: