Patients who use opioid drugs regularly to manage chronic pain disorders are more likely to suffer symptoms of depression. The study results were published in Pain.
Several published studies have reported the possible links between opioids use and onset of depression. The present study is the first to report a plausible association between increased opioid use and higher risk of depression, said Dr. Jeffrey Scherrer, associate professor, department of family and community medicine, St. Louis University.
The researchers conducted a survey based on questionnaire that included 355 chronic low back pain patients. The subjects were inquired about the pain, duration of pain problems at the initial stages, after one-year and two-years of follow-up period.
A plausible and temporal association between opioids use and depression was observed in chronic, non-cancer pain patients. Daily and long-term morphine use significantly increased the risk of depression in study subjects, the authors noted.