Long-term opioids linked to depression

Patients on long-term opioids for pain have a higher risk of new-onset depression, regardless of their pain levels, according to new US research.

The retrospective study looked at three diverse cohorts totalling over 100,000 patients who were naïve to opioids before treatment and had no reported depression.

Over 10% of patients developed new-onset depression during treatment, with longer opioid using increasing the risk.

After one to three months of opioid use the risk of depression rose by 18% to 33%, depending on the cohort, compared with opioid use for less than a month.

For patients on

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