Addiction may not be the only risk for patients who take opioid pain medications—even if they follow prescribing directions to the letter. A paper presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions reveals increased risk for atrial fibrillation in patients who take opioids. Accounting for comorbidities, demographics, and mental health conditions, patients who took opioids were found to be 34% more likely to develop AFib than those who did not take opioids. The data are especially revealing in that the mean age of patients in the study was 38 years, younger than what is considered typical for patients who develop AFib. Further, the effect could be seen in patients who took opioids even for a short period of time. The researchers postulated that the connection could be tied to sleep-disordered breathing.
Be Advised: There’s a New Danger Associated with Opioid Use