Long Term Painkiller Use May Lead To Erectile Dysfunction

A new study published in the May issue of Spine suggests that long term use of opioids to combat back pains may lead to a higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction. These findings were found by analyzing electronic health records of over 11,000 men enrolled in a health plan. The study was conducted due to men with chronic pain reporting erectile dysfunction as a result of depression, smoking, age, or low testosterone levels due to prolonged painkiller use. An analysis of records showed that more than 19% of men who took high doses of opioids for four months or more were also prescribed testosterone replacements or medications to treat erectile dysfunction. This was compared to the 7% who received erectile dysfunction drugs without opioid prescriptions. Age was a huge factor in erectile dysfunction, with men aged 60-69 being 14 times more likely to be prescribed medications. Statistics provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that opioid use has quadrupled between 1999 and 2010. 4.3 million adult Americans use opioids on a regular basis, with the most common ones being hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine. 30% of deaths resulting from overdose are a caused by opioid painkillers.