Medindia
Advertisement

Prescribed Opioids Increase the Risk of Pneumonia

by Ramya Rachamanti on January 8, 2019 at 1:01 PM
Font : A-A+

Prescribed Opioids Increase the Risk of Pneumonia

Intake of prescribed opioids raises the risk of pneumonia in individuals with and without HIV, according to a new Yale-led study.

The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, reinforces the concern that prescription opioid painkillers have a negative impact on the immune system. It also underscores the need for awareness among opioid prescribers who can take steps to minimize the risk of pneumonia through vaccination and promoting smoking cessation, the researchers said.

Advertisement


To their knowledge, this is the first study to examine the impact of prescribed opioids on pneumonia risk in patients with HIV.

Opioids are commonly prescribed to individuals for pain, especially those with HIV. However, there's evidence that some opioids -- including codeine, fentanyl, and morphine -- suppress the immune system and limit the body's ability to fight bacterial infections, such as pneumonia.
Advertisement

To investigate the link between prescribed opioids and pneumonia, the research team analyzed data from patients enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study, a national study of individuals who receive care through the Veterans Health Administration (VA).

The research team conducted the study using data from individuals who were treated at a VA between 2000 and 2012. They included patients living with and without HIV. The team matched patients hospitalized for pneumonia with similar patients who did not have pneumonia.

In their analysis, the researchers looked at length of time patients were taking opioids, as well as dosages and whether the medications had known immunosuppressive properties or not.

The researchers found that patients prescribed medium or high doses of opioid painkillers were at greater risk for pneumonia than those not taking the medications.

The risk was compounded if the opioid contained immunosuppressive properties. Individuals with HIV tended to be more likely to develop pneumonia even at low doses of opioids and especially with immunosuppressive opioids.

"We saw that prescription opioids were independently associated with pneumonia requiring hospitalization," said E. Jennifer Edelman, M.D., the corresponding author and an associate professor at Yale School of Medicine.

Prescription opioids can impact the body's defenses against pneumonia in different ways, the researchers said, including by suppressing cough, respiration, and mucus secretion. The study "lends credence to the hypothesis that opioids have effects on the immune system that are clinically relevant," Edelman noted.

In addition to raising awareness of the increased pneumonia risk among providers and patients, the findings could lead to changes to mitigate that risk and add to the growing list of potential harms associated with these medications.

Providers could consider prescribing lower doses of opioids or opioids that do not suppress the immune system, the researchers said. They can also be proactive about getting patients, especially those with HIV, vaccinated against pneumonia.



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
'Hybrid Immunity' may Help Elude COVID-19 Pandemic
Stroop Effect
Plant-Based Diet may Reduce the Risk of COVID-19
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Hib Vaccine Pneumonia Cannabis Drug Abuse Q Fever Silicosis Respiratory Distress Syndrome Cough Symptom Evaluation Legionnaires’ disease Painkiller Addiction 

Recommended Reading
Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is consuming prescription medications in a way different from that as ......
Cannabis
Cannabis has a long history of medicinal, recreational, and industrial use and comes from a bushy pl...
Cough Symptom Evaluation
Cough is a symptom of a condition usually affecting the respiratory tract. It may be acute or chroni...
Drug Abuse
The use of Drugs for reasons other than its prescribed recommendation, is known as Drug abuse or sub...
Hib Vaccine
The Hib vaccine protects children against infections like meningitis and pneumonia that are caused b...
Legionnaires’ disease
Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by a type of bacteria. The infection is l...
Painkiller Addiction
Painkiller addiction is the use of prescription painkillers in a way not meant by the prescribing do...
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be caused by a bacteria or a virus. It causes inflammation of...
Q Fever
Q Fever takes its origin from word “query” and is caused by bacteria Coxiella burnetii that infects ...
Respiratory Distress Syndrome
ARDS is a lung condition where the patient suffers from sudden breathlessness, low blood oxygen leve...
Silicosis
Silicosis is a lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline free silica dust. It is characterise...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use