Saturday February 16, 2019

Common Painkillers Triple Harmful Side Effects in Dementia

Previous studies have recognized that pain is often under-diagnosed and poorly managed in people with dementia, impacting the quality of life

Painkillers may triple side effects risk in dementia patients. Pixabay

Consuming common opioid-based painkillers may triple the risk of side effects including personality changes, confusion and sedation among people with dementia, a study has warned.

It is because people with dementia produce increased amounts of endorphins — body’s natural endogenous opioids — which interacts with brain to reduce our perception of pain, explained researchers from Britain’s University of Exeter.

Previous studies have recognized that pain is often under-diagnosed and poorly managed in people with dementia, impacting the quality of life.

While the opioid-based painkillers ease pain effectively, current prescribing guidance does not consider the fact that people with dementia get effective pain relief from smaller doses than are commonly prescribed, and are particularly sensitive to adverse effects.

“Pain is a symptom that can cause huge distress and it’s important that we can provide relief to people with dementia. Sadly at the moment we’re harming people when we’re trying to ease their pain,” said Clive Ballard from the varsity.

In Alzheimer’s disease, patients start losing memory, Pixabay

For the study, presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2018 in Chicago, the team analysed data from 162 people who had advanced dementia and significant depression.

The analysis showed buprenorphine — opioid used to treat acute and chronic pain — tripled the harmful effects on people who received the medication as part of their treatment. These patients were also found to be significantly less active during the day.

The experiment done on mice model showed increased sensitivity to the opioid-based painkiller morphine upon treating arthritis in mice with Alzheimer’s disease.

Also Read: Sound Waves May Help Treat Dementia

The mice with Alzheimer’s responded to a much lower dose to ease pain, and experienced more adverse effects when the dose was increased to a normal level.

“We urgently need more research in this area, and we must get this dosing right. We need to establish the best treatment pathway and examine appropriate dosing for people with dementia,” Ballard explained. (IANS)

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Distress May Spike up Risk of Dementia

For the study, the team included 6,807 Danish participants aged 60 years on average

Extreme distress increases risk for dementia: Study. Pixabay

Men and women who are distressed in midlife could be at higher risk of developing dementia in their old age, suggests a new study.

The study showed that vital exhaustion, which can be perceived as an indicator of psychological distress, is a risk factor for future risk of dementia.

Psychological distress is potentially linked to the risk of dementia through neurological and cardiovascular mechanisms.

The findings, led by researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, revealed that for each additional symptom of vital exhaustion, the risk of dementia rose by two per cent.

While participants reporting five to nine symptoms had a 25 per cent higher risk of dementia than those with no symptoms, those reporting 10 to 17 symptoms had a 40 per cent higher risk of dementia compared with not having symptoms.

However, the researchers are yet not aware of "exactly how anticholinergics might cause dementia", the researchers said.
Representational Image- dementia, Pixabay

Importantly, physiological stress response, including cardiovascular changes and excessive production of cortisol over a prolonged period, may also contribute to linking psychological distress with an increased risk of dementia, revealed the study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Stress can have severe and harmful consequences not just for our brain health, but our health in general. Cardiovascular risk factors are well-known modifiable risk factors for dementia, and in some countries, a stagnation or even a decreasing incidence of dementia has been observed,” said Sabrina Islamoska, postdoctoral student from the varsity.

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For the study, the team included 6,807 Danish participants aged 60 years on average.

Psychological distress is an important risk factor that should receive more focus when considering prevention initiatives in relation to later dementia, the team said. (IANS)