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Study shows: taking painkillers leads to obesity


Doctors are studying the effects of taking pain relievers

Regular use of commonly prescribed pain relievers is generally not recommended. These lead to stomach complaints, for example, but can also cause far more dangerous side effects such as a heart attack. Researchers have now found that taking pain relievers regularly can double the risk of developing obesity. The use also leads to sleep problems.

The researchers at Newcastle University found that frequent use of pain relievers doubles the risk of becoming obese. In addition, the use also leads to generally poorer sleep. The experts published a press release on the results of their study.

Prescription of opioids and some antidepressants has increased significantly

In the past decade, prescriptions for drugs such as opioids and some antidepressants to treat chronic pain have risen sharply. In their investigation, the scientists demonstrated the serious effects of these drugs, thereby underlining the need to reduce the use of such painkillers.

Experts analyzed the data from more than 133,000 subjects

In their study, physicians found that drugs such as gabapentinoids and opiates used to treat pain double the risk of developing obesity. In addition, the intake has a negative impact on our sleep. In their study, the scientists analyzed the interrelation between metabolic and cardiovascular diseases in more than 133,000 test persons, whose data were available in the so-called UK biobank.

Doctors measured BMI, waist circumference and blood pressure

The experts compared the body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and blood pressure of regular painkillers for chronic, non-cancer-related pain and people taking cardiometabolic medication with the data of people who only took painkillers for cardio-metabolic treatment. People with migraines, diabetic neuropathy and chronic back pain, for example, receive such treatment, the researchers explain.

Prescriptions for opiates have doubled within ten years

In 2016, 24 million opiates were prescribed in the UK alone, exactly twice as much as in 2006. Two years ago, 11,000 patients were hospitalized for an opiate overdose, the scientists say.

Chronic pain relievers should only be prescribed for shorter periods

The results of the study show that 95 percent of people taking opiates and cardiometabolic drugs suffer from obesity. 82 percent had a very high waist size and 63 percent of those affected had high blood pressure, in contrast to participants who only received cardiovascular medication. The results suggest that chronic pain relievers should be prescribed for shorter periods of time to limit serious health complications.

When people take opiates, their health suffers

“This is the largest study that looks at the links between commonly prescribed pain relievers and cardio-metabolic health. We already knew that opiates lead to addiction, but the study also found that opiate-taking people suffer from very poor health. Obesity rates are much higher and patients report poor sleep, ”said Sophie Cassidy of Newcastle University in the press release.

Long-term use of opioids can lead to addiction

Opioids are among the most dangerous prescription pain relievers because they are addictive, which can lead to abuse, the researchers say. Then patients may need to continue taking these medications to feel normal and avoid withdrawal symptoms. Long-term use of such drugs is controversial because they can cause sleep disorders, daytime sedation, and accidental overdoses. (as)

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