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Senior Times - April 2019Research About OpioidPage 27In-Home Care for a Better Quality of LifeLight Housekeeping • Meal Prep • Dressing • Companionship Grocery Shopping • LaundryProviding services to Kalamazoo, Calhoun, St Joseph, Branch, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Jackson Counties.2990 Business One Dr, Kalamazoo, MI 49048Phone: 269.762.6110 • Fax: 269.762.6109Toll Free: 877.406.9783 • Email: info@rahhelps.com744 W. Michigan Ave., Suite #301B, Jackson, MI 49201Phone: 517.768.0900 • Fax: 517.768.0909Toll Free: 877.768.0901 • Email: rahofscm-info@sbcglobal.netThe Care That’s Right, at Home®Call 24/7 For Effects on SeniorsAlthough opioids are prescribedfor positive reasons – as in, to help individuals ease or alleviate their pain – this class of drugs often has unin- tended physical consequences for the elderly, and in some cases can increase sensitivity to pain.One of the most common and most significant negative physical side effects of opiate use in seniors is nau- sea, according to research published in Clinical Interventions in Aging. This uncomfortable response is par- tially caused by the body detecting the opioids in the blood, which initi- ates a vomiting reflex.sensations. This is called opioid-in- duced hyperalgesia and the sensitivity can appear in the form of the orig- inal underlying pain, according to researchers from the Centers for Pain Management. Or, it may involve the presence of pain that is different from the one for which the drug was origi- nally prescribed.However, sometimes the nausea results from the impact opiates have on the part of the ear responsible for bal- ance (the vestibular apparatus) or their effect on the gastrointestinal system that is to blame.Jerky Muscle Contractions – Research published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry indicates that, when there is long-term use of opiates, somewhere between 2.7 and 11 percent of users will experience myoclonus, a neuroexcitatory side effect that consists of spasmodic, jerky contraction of the muscles.Constipation – Research further states that another rather common side effect is opioid-induced constipation, with some studies finding that almost one-half of all hospice patients on opiates (48 percent) struggle with this issue.The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes shares that these types of contractions are similar to the ones experienced when you have the hiccups or if you jump as you start to fall asleep.According to an article published in Drugs & Aging, this physical condition is, “Often underrecognized and under- treated in the elderly.” There’s also a concern about using laxatives for the elderly, as their effectiveness has not been totally proven for treating opi- oid-induced constipation.Increased Risk Of Falls – Therisk of falls is already elevated for the elderly. But research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) highlights that this risk is even greater for elderly who are taking opi- ates, as they are 2.4 times more likely to fall than to experience any other type of injury.Itching – Technically called ‘pruri- tus,’ severe itching of the skin occurs in as many as one in ten opiate users, according to the Clinical Interventions in Aging research. Pruritus is more common in the elderly anyway, according to the Mayo Clinic, and even though it normally disappears within a week of starting the opi- ate-based drug, it can be very uncom- fortable in the meantime.The National Council on Aging reports that one out of every four Americans 65 or older falls each and every year, making it responsible for one emergency room visit every 11 seconds and one death every 19 minutes for this segment of the population.Additionally, when these jerky con- tractions occur due to taking opiates, it is still questionable as to whether opiate receptor blockers like the drug naloxone can effectively reverse this effect.4792 K Drive South • East Leroy, MI 49051(269) 729-4500 • kdrivegreenhouseco.comApril 16 - June 16:Sunday thru Saturday 9am - 7pmJune 17 - Early October:Monday thru Friday 9am - 5pm Saturday 9am - 2pmClosed on SundayHanging Baskets , Annuals, Perennials & Vegetable PlantsSenior Discount* Every WednesdayOPE N*Senior Discount may not be combined with any other discounts.Urinary Issues – Another negative side effect of opiate use in the elderly is urinary retention, or the inability to empty the bladder completely. Thisis sometimes caused by build-up of opiates in the body, more so whenthe drug is not used appropriately, according to one review published in the International Journal of Molecular Science. Other times, it occurs because of decreased liver and kidney function. If left untreated, this renal toxicity could lead to acute kidney injury and, potentially, renal failure.Diminished Bone Density – MedlinePlus says that as we age,we also lose bone mass and density, making this especially troublesome for women in their post-menopause years. Research in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management has found that long-term opiate use can potentially increase osteoporosis risk as well.Respiratory Depression – The University of Wisconsin Hospital& Clinics explains that opioids can impact breathing rate, volume (the amount of air the lungs are able to inhale and exhale), and tidal exchange (how well the lungs can exchange oxy- gen and carbon dioxide). The result is irregular or slower rates of breathing, two concerns that are especially prob- lematic when the elderly individual is sleeping, as there is normally reduced sensitivity to carbon dioxide during this time already.Impaired Sexual Performance – In May 2018, the University of Michigan’s National Poll on Healthy Aging released its Let’s Talk About Sex report that revealed that for adults between the ages of 65 and 80, 54 percent of those with romantic partners are sexually active. Opioid use can potentially interfere with this intimate act, according to Medscape. Men who are being treated for back pain with opiates are 50 percent more likely to be treated for erectile dysfunction as well.Increased Pain Sensitivity – While opiates are prescribed to help individ- uals better deal with pain, sometimes they have the opposite effect and actually increase sensitivity to painLong-term opioid use can be chal- lenging for all ages. For additional risks and concerns about opioid use turn to pages 28-29.This effect is both direct and indi- rect by interfering with bone remod- eling and turnover processes, leading to opioid-induced osteoporosis and, sometimes, opioid-associated bone fractures.

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