•   
  •   
  •   

Health & Fit Opioid Side Effects: The Immediate and Long-Term Impact of These Potent Drugs on the Body

12:56  04 december  2021
12:56  04 december  2021 Source:   health.com

The deaths of actor Michael K. Williams and comedian Fuquan Johnson show the opioid epidemic is far from over

  The deaths of actor Michael K. Williams and comedian Fuquan Johnson show the opioid epidemic is far from over The prevalence of fentanyl - a highly potent synthetic opioid - in street drugs is putting even casual users at high risk of overdose, public health experts say.Emmy-nominated actor, Michael K. Williams, 54, who was best known for his role as Omar Little on "The Wire" and Albert "Chalky" White on the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire," was found dead of a suspected overdose at his Brooklyn apartment on Monday with what appeared to be heroin on his kitchen table.

Like any drug, prescription or not, opioids come with a list of possible side effects. The difference is that opioids, unlike most other meds people take, can be highly addictive. And that can lead to potential misuse or even overdose, says the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Constipation is a common complaint, but the effects are wide-ranging and can be severe. © Provided by Health Constipation is a common complaint, but the effects are wide-ranging and can be severe.

However, if your doctor believes a short course of an opioid drug may be useful for treating your pain, you'll want make an informed decision about whether to take these drugs and for how long. Knowing the side effects of opioids can help you weigh the benefits and risks.

Black Americans Are Now Outpacing White Americans in Opioid Deaths

  Black Americans Are Now Outpacing White Americans in Opioid Deaths New research shines a light on inequities in addiction treatment.Once considered a crisis affecting primarily white Americans, the opioid crisis now affects largely communities of color, the research suggests.

Getty Images © Provided by Health Getty Images

What types of opioids can cause side effects?

In order to understand opioid side effects, it's vital to get a quick background on these drugs. Certain opioids are prescribed to treat moderate-to-severe pain. Others are produced illegally and sold on the street for the high they produce.

Prescription opioids. This category includes natural opioids, such as morphine and codeine, and semi-synthetic opioids, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and oxymorphone. It also includes synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, which goes by brand names like Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze. Fentanyl is highly potent—50 to 100 times more than morphine, reports the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Prescription opioids can produce a euphoric feeling that can be addictive, but these drugs are generally safe when taken for a short period of time and under a doctor's direction, says the CDC.

Deep brain stimulation may ease opioid addiction when other treatments fail

  Deep brain stimulation may ease opioid addiction when other treatments fail Doctors at West Virginia University’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute are testing the experimental procedure on addicts for whom other treatments didn't work.The tiny electrodes surgeons implanted in the reward center of his brain are designed to carry electrical stimulation that could, in theory, help drown out the constant craving he feels for benzodiazepines, his drug of choice.

Illegal opioids. This category includes heroin, a drug made from morphine that can be smoked, sniffed, injected, or snorted. Heroin quickly binds to opioid receptors responsible for pain, pleasure, heart rate, breathing, and more, says NIDA. Illegally produced fentanyl may be sold as a powder, nasal spray, or pill, and its effects on the body are similar to other opioid painkillers, but it also poses a high risk of overdose, says the US Drug Enforcement Agency.

Opioids can bring far more than a feeling of euphoria. First, there's the risk of overdose. In 2019, nearly 50,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in which opioids were involved, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

On top of the risk of overdose, opioid side effects are wide-ranging.

RELATED: 8 Opioid Overdose Symptoms and What to Do If You Suspect That Someone Has OD'd

What are the side effects of short-term opioid use?

Side effects of opioid use vary tremendously depending on the person and length and quantity of use. However, there are a few general opioid side effects to know.

The #1 Best Diet for a Flat Belly

  The #1 Best Diet for a Flat Belly If you want a lean midsection in no time, this is the very best diet for a flat belly, according to a registered dietitian.However, there's one goal practically everyone trying to lose weight has in common: getting a flat belly. While shaving off a few pounds can help reduce your risk of certain chronic ailments, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and fatty liver, losing inches off your waist may also lower your heart attack risk. In fact, a 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that waist-to-hip ratio was a better predictor of heart attack risk than BMI.

According to Ashley McGee, RN, the vice president of nursing at Mountainside, a New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut provider of drug addiction treatment, the short-term side effects of opioid use can include:

  • Nausea
  • Decreased respiratory rate
  • Unconsciousness
  • Increased drowsiness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Constipation

Video: 11 Opioid Use Disorder Symptoms That Suggest Someone May Need Help (Health)

In some instances, these side effects will require an additional treatment plan. Harvard Health Publishing reports that constipation occurs in 41% of people using them for chronic noncancerous pain and in 94% of people using them for cancer-related pain.

"Oftentimes, doctors who prescribe opioids to patients for pain management will also prescribe or recommend laxatives at the start of the opioid prescription," Angela L. Robinson, LPCMH, NCC, the clinical director at NorthNode Group Counseling in Dover, Delaware, tells Health. She has had patients stop taking opioids due to constipation causing intense pain and discomfort.

What Are Drug-Withdrawal Symptoms and How Long Do They Last?

  What Are Drug-Withdrawal Symptoms and How Long Do They Last? Understanding the details can lead to the right treatment.Although some people only experience mild discomfort after stopping a drug, others may experience dangerous or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, depending on the substance and their level of dependence. To avoid or at least minimize some of these symptoms, doctors and addiction experts recommend gradually tapering off of a substance and sometimes stopping it altogether through a medically supervised detox program.

More potent opioids, like fentanyl and heroin, may have more severe side effects.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl's side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Confusion
  • Breathing problems

Then there's heroin. NIDA says the short-term side effects include:

  • Moving in and out of consciousness
  • Dry mouth
  • Flushed skin
  • Heavy limbs
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe itching

RELATED: What Is Opioid Addiction? How to Recognize and Treat This Chronic Disorder

What are the side effects of long-term opioid use?

Chronic opioid use can produce additional side effects. According to the NIDA, the side effects of long-term heroin use can be extensive and include:

  • Insomnia
  • Collapsed veins
  • Damaged nose tissue
  • Constipation
  • Stomach cramping
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Depression
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Withdrawal symptoms

"In addition to gastrointestinal complications and drowsiness, long-term side effects of opioid use change a person's behavior to hyper-fixate on opioids and their next dosage," explains Robinson. "A person experiences pain in a different way, and the body becomes more hypersensitive to pain because of pain suppression and the loss of the naturally built-up tolerance."

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment: Doctor-Recommended Drugs and Therapy

  Opioid Use Disorder Treatment: Doctor-Recommended Drugs and Therapy Options for reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms and getting your life back on track. A spike in opioid-related deaths in the US, per new government data, highlights the need for expanded access to therapies. Here's what to know if you're seeking medication-assisted treatment or therapy for opioid addiction or dependence. What is an opioid use disorder? The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines opioid use disorder as "a problematic pattern of opioid use leading to problems or distress.

Damioli adds that it is critical for people using opioids long-term to also engage in non-opioid-related pain management—otherwise, the increased sensitivity can make their pain worse over time. He also cautions that constipation can continue and become more severe with long-term use.

RELATED: 11 Opioid Use Disorder Symptoms That Suggest Someone May Need Help

What are the side effects of opioid withdrawal?

Due to their incredibly addictive nature, a person can experience opioid withdrawal very quickly. In fact, Mayo Clinic reports that after only five days of opioid use, the likelihood of someone becoming dependent on opioids increases significantly.

According to the US National Library of Medicine, side effects of opioid withdrawal include:

  • Agitation
  • Muscle pain
  • Yawning
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps

"Symptoms will lessen over time, but every person is different as to how they tolerate withdrawal," says McGee. "Some individuals can also experience post-acute withdrawal, the delayed onset of withdrawal symptoms after completing a detox of a substance. These symptoms are generally not as severe but are just more prolonged."

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

Read the original article on Health

One Major Effect of Eating Fiber-Rich Foods, Says Expert .
More whole grains, smaller waist? That's one of the findings in a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition.Waist size

usr: 7
This is interesting!