Long term use or higher cumulative doses of opioids may not increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Opioids are powerful pain relieving drugs that act on the nervous system. A recent study from the University of Eastern Finland is the most extensive one conducted on the topic so far.
A previous study from the US reported an association between high cumulative doses of opioids and an increased risk of dementia, but the Finnish study does not confirm this finding.
Opioid use was compared between Finnish persons with Alzheimer's disease and their control persons without the disease. The study was part of the nationwide register-based MEDALZ study and included 70,718 persons diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in Finland during 2005-2011, as well as 282,862 control persons.