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Opioid pain-killers 'linked to pneumonia'

Opioid pain-killers 'linked to pneumonia'
23rd September 2011

Older adults who take opioid medications, many of these no doubt using assisted living, may want to take more precautions to ensure they do not get pneumonia.

Research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society revealed that the pain medication was linked to a higher risk of pneumonia in older people.

In an analysis of cases of the respiratory illness, 13.9 per cent of patients were found to have been using opioids, while just 8.4 per cent were on anxiety drug benzodiazepines.

Furthermore, in a control group who did not have pneumonia, 8.0 per cent were taking opiods while 4.6 per cent were prescribed benzodiazepines.

Study leader Sascha Dublin said: "Pneumonia is a common infection that can have serious consequences in older adults.

"Opioids and benzodiazepines work in different ways, but both can decrease the breathing rate. Both are also sedatives, which can increase the risk of aspiration."

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