In a recent study, researchers found common painkillers people use in daily life is linked to higher risks of sleep problems and obesity.
The finding suggests that new guidelines are needed to be made about how to use painkillers.
The research was conducted by a team from Newcastle University, UK.
Opioids have been increasingly prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain over the past 10 years.
Health conditions that require painkillers include migraine, diabetic neuropathy, and chronic lower back pain.
However, recent research has shown that these medications can bring many health risks.
For example, one recent study found that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are widely known as pain-killers and can relieve pain and inflammation.
But prolonged use of this type of drug can raise the risks of heart and kidney failure.
Other research has shown that opioids can lead to drug abuse and addiction, can worsen snoring and untreated sleep apnea and can cause nocturnal high blood pressure.
In the current study, the team focused on the link between commonly prescribed painkillers and body weight as well as sleep.
They examined the cardio-metabolic health in more than 133,000 participants from the UK Biobank.
Cardio-Metabolic health is the inter-relationship between metabolic and cardiovascular disease.
The team examined BMI, waist circumference and blood pressure in people who took painkillers for chronic pain and cardio-metabolic drugs and in people who only took prescribed cardio-metabolic drugs.
They found that common painkillers like gabapentinoids such as gabapentin, pregabilin, and opiates, could double the risks of obesity and were linked to poor sleep.
People on painkillers and cardio-metabolic drugs reported 95% rates of obesity, 82% ‘very high’ waist circumference and 63% high blood pressure.
The findings suggest that longtime use of painkillers may harm body weight and sleep quality. Therefore, these medications need to be given for shorter periods of time to reduce the risk.
The team suggests that doctors should prescribe chronic pain medications for shorter periods of time to prevent dangerous health complications.
In addition, patients need to take with their doctor for long-term use of the drugs.
One author of the study is Dr. Sophie Cassidy, a Research Associate at the Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University.
The study is published in the academic journal, PLOS ONE.
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