Prescribed opioids associated with increased risk of pneumonia for all patients.
Opioids are prescribed for relief of severe and there is an opioid epidemic happening in the USA. Opioids are just another tool in a physician's tool kit to help manage severe pain. Unfortunately, not only are opioids highly addictive but they may also play a role in weakening the immune system. Opioids may also reduce the body's ability to cough and rid itself of germs in the lungs as well as reduce the body's ability to produce mucus that helps protect the lungs.
VA hospitals and clinics in the US analysed health-related information collected from the year 2000 to the end of 2012 comparing 4246 people who had been hospitalized for pneumonia and 25392 people who did not get pneumonia. They focused on the use of opioids 12 months prior to the episode of pneumonia or at the time of pneumonia.
Overall, taking into account many factors, researchers found statistical links between the use of opioids and an increased risk of pneumonia.
Certain opioids were found to be particularly immuno-surpressive including: codeine, dihydro-codeine, fentanyl, and morphine.
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