Sat, Dec 3, 2016 | updated 01:27 AM IST

Opioid treatment associated with chronic wound healing: Study

Updated: Nov 23, 2016 13:04 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov. 23 (ANI): A study published in Wound Repair and Regeneration, has found that the chronic wounds heal faster if a patient has never received opioids drugs.

Chronic wounds are those that fails to heal after three months of appropriate wound care. They cause considerable pain, affecting patient well-being and quality of life, and significantly impact their mortality.

The study by George Washington University (GW) researcher Victoria Shanmugam, M.D. suggests that opioid exposure is associated with reduced likelihood of healing in patients with chronic wounds. While there is a strong correlation, whether this is a causal relationship will require further research.

"Opioid analgestics are commonly prescribed to patients with chronic wounds, but until now, little to no research had been done to determine the relationship between opioid treatment and wound healing," said Shanmugam, associate professor of medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

"It seems that exposing patients to opioids may impact ultimate wound outcome. More work needs to be done to understand this finding and the possible mechanisms driving it. We look forward to continuing this research, which may lead to faster healing and improved patient outcomes," he added.

Shanmugam and her research team studied 450 subjects enrolled in the WE-HEALbiorepository. Data was collected using baseline characteristics, such as pain score, longitudinal opioid exposure, and total wound surface area. Opioid dose was found to be significantly associated with total wound surface area.

"Finding ways to improve healing of chronic wounds will have an enormous effect on patients and the healthcare system," said Shanmugam.(ANI)