Monday April 22, 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

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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.

dementia
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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Late Onset of Menstruation May Spike up Dementia Risk, Says Study

For the study, the researchers involved 6,137 women among which 42 per cent later developed dementia

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Representational Image- dementia, Pixabay

Women whose menstruation starts later and those who enter menopause early may have a greater risk of developing dementia, say researchers.

The findings showed that women who had their first menstrual cycle at age 16 or older had a 23 per cent greater risk of dementia than women who had their first menstrual cycle at age 13.

Women who went through natural menopause before age 47 had a 19 per cent greater risk of dementia than women who went through menopause at age 47 or older.

In addition, women who had hysterectomy — surgery to remove all or part of the uterus — had an eight per cent greater risk of dementia than those who did not, according to the study, published in the journal Neurology.

1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. Pixabay
1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. Pixabay

“Oestrogen levels can go up and down throughout a woman’s lifetime. Our results show that less exposure to oestrogen over the course of a lifetime is linked to an increased risk of dementia,” said Paola Gilsanz, Researcher at Kaiser Permanente – a US-based healthcare company.

For the study, the researchers involved 6,137 women among which 42 per cent later developed dementia.

Also Read- Food Insecurity In New York, Indian-Americans Work To Raise Awareness

“Since women are 50 per cent more likely to develop dementia over their lifetimes than men, it’s important to study any risk factors that are specific to women that could eventually lead us to potential points of intervention,” Gilsanz suggested. (IANS)