Long-Term Opioid Use & Depression

Long-Term Opioid Use & Depression

Part of well-balanced healthcare is evaluating short-term benefits against long-term potentialities. In the case of opioids, a study by Jeffrey Scherrer, PhD, et al. published in The Annals of Family Medicine shows a relationship between long durations of use and the development of new-onset depression. Opioids offer short-term mood boosts, but the relief they offer comes with a price—even low-doses, when continued for more than 30 days, may lead to low testosterone and changes in neuroanatomy, both of which can lead to depression. The connection is not totally clear though; the study’s authors call for further research to determine what other factors make patients more or less susceptible to the development of depression from their opioid use.

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