Why Aren't Clinicians Monitoring Patients On Opioids For Depression?

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More than 60% of respondents experienced depression at some point in their lifetime.
More than 60% of respondents experienced depression at some point in their lifetime.

Treating chronic pain with opioids has sparked a lot of controversy in the medical community, but what hasn't been discussed is how patients undergoing opioid treatments could be venturing down a long road of depression.

Published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, a new report outlines why clinicians should monitor patients who have been taking opioids for pain management at a younger age for the emergence of mood dysfunction. The study's findings suggest that these individuals in particular are at a greater risk of poorer outcome of treatment for pain and of developing difficulties with their opioid medications.

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"These results reflect the complex comorbidities of chronic pain, especially depression and underscore the necessity for multidimensional assessment," the study's authors wrote.

Researchers aimed to resolve the following after conducting the study: estimate how often depression occurs after the onset of pain and also preceding the initiation of prescribed opioid treatments; determine both clinical and demographic characteristics associated with those who develop depression after pain sets in; and determine both clinical and demographic characteristics associated with those who develop depression after receiving treatment.

More than 60% of respondents experienced depression at some point in their lifetime.1 Of this group, around 25% reported feeling depressed prior to pain, however, nearly 50% said they developed depression after pain and after they started ingesting opioid medications.

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