Sleep Apnea & Needing Opioid Drugs

Reference:Webster LR, et al Sleep-disordered breathing and chronic opioid therapy. Pain Med. 2008 May-Jun;9(4):425-32.

Is there a relationship between ‘strong pain medications’ prescribed for chronic pain and sleep apnea?

This relatively large study found 75% of the patients on Opioids had sleep apnea! … with a direct relation between the severity of apnea and the daily dosage of Opioids.

Personal Comment:This study justifies that every patient on Opioids should be referred to a sleep clinic to be evaluated for sleep apnea. The CPAP machine may not only save their life, it may also significantly lower their pain and need for these strong addictive meds that have numerous adverse effects!

Although patients don’t find wearing a CPAP ‘convenient’, I highly recommend it!

Posted on: July 02, 2010

Categories: Fascinating Pain Studies

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