Severe opioid users with a moderate or severe opioid use disorder (OUD) exhibit weakened immune system and pain tolerance, and they experience symptoms in ways that resemble anxiety disorders, according to researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
The findings suggest that opioids may induce impairment for REHAB pediatric patients who might be susceptible to adverse opioid reactions. In addition, a review of clinical trials identified no treatment and safety-related studies for ODD that have been conducted in non-patient populations.
“We urge clinicians to have conversations with patient populations and understand the time-critical need for opioid maintenance therapy and the inherent risk to neuropsychiatric users of opioids,” said the study’s lead author, Colleen Perrin, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and member of the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Care Center.
The study’s findings will be presented Saturday, March 14, at the 46th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Psychiatry in Lisbon.
The study involved 234 patients with a moderate to severe ODD who were treated at Wake Forest Baptist. Participants were matched each with a matched non-patient who did not have a relapsing opioid use disorder of any description.
The ODD researchers selected patients whose ODD symptoms and clinical features (symptoms, physical findings, psycho-social findings and communication) were similar to Rett syndrome (unspecified or non-specific anxiety, agitation, and dysphoria). “Results from clinical hypertension (body swelling, feeling weak, and drowsiness) indicated lack of marked dysphoric effects but appeared to be related to opioid use disorder,” the study concluded.
“As such, opioids should be considered a potential treatment option for patients that exhibit these comorbidities in order to reduce the overall risk of an opioid user suffering a severe or severe opioid use disorder,” said lead author Malcolm Phelan, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at Wake Forest Baptist. “Future patient research should concentrate on patients’ symptoms of opioid use disorder, their associations with opioid use and clinical outcomes and understanding of underlying neuropsychiatric implications.”