Advertisement

Low-Dose Opioids Safe in Severe COPD, Benzodiazepines Less So — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
February 3, 2014

Low-Dose Opioids Safe in Severe COPD, Benzodiazepines Less So

By Amy Orciari Herman

Low-dose opioids may be safely used to reduce breathlessness in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a BMJ study finds.

Using Swedish registries, researchers followed roughly 2200 patients starting long-term oxygen therapy for COPD. Some 40% were using benzodiazepines, opioids, or both at baseline.

During a median 2.5 months' follow-up, three-quarters of all patients were hospitalized. Use of benzodiazepines or opioids was not associated with increased admission rates. After 1 year, half of all patients had died. Benzodiazepines were associated with a 20% increase in mortality, as were high-dose opioids. Lower-dose opioids (30 mg or less of oral morphine equivalents/day), however, did not increase mortality.

The researchers say their research "supports the safety of regular low dose systemic opioids to reduce breathlessness in severely ill patients with respiratory compromise." They add that "benzodiazepines should not be the first line treatment ... given the unclear evidence of net clinical benefit."

Reader Comments (1)

Tom Monaghan Physician, Oncology, retired

hydrocodone releaves chest tightness , chronic asthma in my experience.

Your Comment

(will not be published)

Filtered HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Do you have any conflict of interest to disclose?
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Vertical Tabs

* Required

Reader comments are intended to encourage lively discussion of clinical topics with your peers in the medical community. We ask that you keep your remarks to a reasonable length, and we reserve the right to withhold publication of remarks that do not meet this standard.

PRIVACY: We will not use your email address, submitted for a comment, for any other purpose nor sell, rent, or share your e-mail address with any third parties. Please see our Privacy Policy.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement