US Pharm. 2015;40(3):5.

St. Louis, MO— Building on their previous discovery of an association between depression and opioid use, Saint Louis University researchers found that patients who increase their opioid medication doses to manage chronic pain are more likely to experience an increase in depression. Researchers studied questionnaires from 355 patients reporting chronic lower back pain at baseline and at 1- and 2-year follow-ups. “A strong potential explanation of our finding that increasing opioid dose increases risk of depression could be that the patients who increase dose were the longer using patients,” noted lead investigator Jeffrey Scherrer, PhD. “This is logical as longer use is associated with tolerance and a need to increase opioids to achieve pain relief.”

To comment on this article, contact