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Adverse effects of Hormone imbalance:
Concern has grown regarding the adverse consequences of opioid treatment, which range from fatigue and depression to sexual dysfunction see above table 1.
Opioid-induced hormone imbalance is one of the most common yet least often diagnosed consequences of prolonged opioid therapy. Sustained-action opioids used on a daily basis for more than a month have a number of adverse effects on human endocrine function.
For example; opioids decrease levels of the gonadal sex hormones, growth hormone, cortisol, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS). Opioids also blunt the cortisol response to corticotropin.
While the clinical significance of decreased growth hormone and cortisol levels remain speculative, decreased gonadal and adrenal androgen production contribute to the now well-documented symptoms of opioid-induced endocrinopathy.
Opioids are increasingly used to treat chronic nonmalignant pain. However, long-term opioid treatment can cause hormone imbalances. Therefore, physicians must be aware of the various challenges associated with opioids. Patients are advised to discuss symptoms as outlined in table 1 & 2. Blood test are then required to determine your hormone levels. Dr. John Girard MD has advanced hormone training and will order the appropriate replacements. Careful adjustments will be required based on your response and repeated blood levels. There is evidence that rotation of opiates may be beneficial along with dosage reduction and decreased use of extended release opiates.