People with depression are more likely to be prescribed powerful opioids at higher doses and for a longer time. Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle looked at medical records from two large healthcare plans between 1997 and 2005. They found that depressed people were four times more likely to be prescribed opioids for non-cancer pain. 25% of patients with depression had a long-term opioid prescription compared to only 9% of non-depressed patients. People with depression were more likely to be prescribed higher doses of the drugs, longer-acting drugs and sleeping pills and Valium. Depressed patients might be more likely to ask for opioids, seem in more distress and actually be feeling higher levels of pain but the researchers called for better monitoring to prevent the risks of addiction and overdose.
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