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Erectile Dysfunction Tied To Long Term Painkiller Use
|Patient / Public:|
A new study suggests that long term use of opioid prescription painkillers for back pain is tied to a higher risk of erectile dysfunction (ED). The findings are published in the 15 May online issue of the journal Spine.
Lead author Richard A. Deyo, an investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research says in a statement:
“Men who take opioid pain medications for an extended period of time have the highest risk of ED.”
With his colleagues, Deyo, who is also Professor of Evidence-based Family Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, found the link by analyzing electronic health records of over 11,000 men enrolled in a health plan.
They believe theirs is the first study to find such a link using electronic health records.
The reason they did the study was because men with chronic pain sometimes experience erectile dysfunction because of depression, smoking, age, or opioid-related hypogonadism (low testosterone due to painkiller use).
But little is known, they note, about how common ED is in men with back pain, and which risk factors may be important.
So they searched the electronic records to find out if men taking prescription painkillers were also the ones most likely to be prescribed testosterone replacement or medications for ED.