Long-term opioid use does not increase risk of Alzheimer 's disease

October 24, 2017, University of Eastern Finland
Credit: University of Eastern Finland

Opioid use is not associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, shows a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland. Researchers did not find any risk neither for long-term use nor for higher cumulative doses. Opioids are powerful pain relieving drugs that act on the nervous system.

Published in Pain Medicine, the study is the most extensive one conducted on the topic so far. A previous study from the U.S. reported an association between high cumulative doses of opioids and an of dementia, but the Finnish study does not confirm this finding.

However, several adverse effects are related to use, such as drowsiness and reduced alertness, and for this reason, opioid use should be restricted to the most severe pain conditions only. Opioid use may also lead to addiction or tolerance to pain-relieving effects.

Opioid use was compared between Finnish persons with Alzheimer's disease and control subjects 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 subjects.

Explore further: Long-term use of opioid patches common among persons with Alzheimer's disease

More information: Heidi Taipale et al. Is Alzheimer's Disease Associated with Previous Opioid Use?, Pain Medicine (2017). DOI: 10.1093/pm/pnx210

Related Stories

Long-term use of opioid patches common among persons with Alzheimer's disease

November 14, 2016
Approximately seven per cent of persons with Alzheimer's disease use strong pain medicines, opioids, for non-cancer pain for a period longer than six months, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Eastern ...

Antiulcer drugs do not increase risk of Alzheimer's disease

August 7, 2017
The use of proton pump inhibitors does not increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease, shows a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland. Proton pump inhibitors are a type of antiulcer drug that is commonly used among ...

Gabapentin co-use may increase risk of fatal opioid overdose

October 3, 2017
Co-prescription of the anticonvulsant gabapentin is associated with an increased risk of opioid-related death in people who are prescribed opioid painkillers, according to a new study published in PLOS Medicine.

Alzheimer's patients' use of painkilling patches cause for concern

December 8, 2016
(HealthDay)—Long-term use of powerful opioid painkillers may be common among Alzheimer's disease patients and could be a cause for concern, researchers report.

Use of prescription analgesics differs significantly between persons with and without Alzheimer's

November 29, 2016
Approximately one third of persons with Alzheimer's disease use prescription medicines for pain after their diagnosis, reports a recent study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland. The use of analgesics was as common ...

Plastic surgeons get tips on managing opioid addiction risk

October 2, 2017
Opioid medications prescribed for pain management after plastic surgery may contribute to the ongoing opioid epidemic, according to a special topic paper in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official ...

Recommended for you

A new way of thinking about tau kinetics, an essential component of Alzheimer's disease

March 21, 2018
Alzheimer's disease is most often characterized by two different pathologies in the brain: plaque deposits of a protein called beta-amyloid and tangles of another protein called tau. A paper appearing March 21 in the journal ...

Could drugs used after an organ transplant protect against Alzheimer's?

March 21, 2018
A UT Southwestern study in mice provides new clues about how a class of anti-rejection drugs used after organ transplants may also slow the progression of early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

Cell therapy could improve brain function for Alzheimer's disease

March 15, 2018
Like a great orchestra, your brain relies on the perfect coordination of many elements to function properly. And if one of those elements is out of sync, it affects the entire ensemble. In Alzheimer's disease, for instance, ...

Physically fit women nearly 90 percent less likely to develop dementia

March 14, 2018
Women with high physical fitness at middle age were nearly 90 percent less likely to develop dementia decades later, compared to women who were moderately fit, according to a study published the March 14, 2018, online issue ...

Poor sleep may heighten Alzheimer's risk

March 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Older adults who are sleepy during the day might have harmful plaque building in their brain that is a sign of impending Alzheimer's disease, researchers report.

Dementia patients with distorted memories may actually retain key information – researchers say

March 7, 2018
Some memories containing inaccurate information can be beneficial to dementia sufferers because it enables them to retain key information researchers say.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.