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Men taking long-acting chronic pain meds 5xs more likely to have low testosterone levels
Date:1/31/2013

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."


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Contact: Vincent Staupe
vstaupe@golinharris.com
415-318-4386
Kaiser Permanente
Source:Eurekalert

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