Endocrine side effects of opioids treatments

Anne Dysseleer, Dominique Maiter Published in the journal : January 2023 Category : Endocrinology

Summary :

The first traces of opium use date back to the time of the Sumerians, around four thousand years before our era. The Egyptians employed it to soothe crying children. After briefly reviewing the pharmacology of opium derivatives and opioids, we will discuss their still poorly understood endocrine side effects. The steadily increasing use of opioids in medical practice and their misuse have uncovered a whole series of side effects on several hypothamic-pituitary endocrine axes. These side effects can have a significant impact on the general health and quality of life of patients who use them chronically. It is therefore crucial for clinicians to recognize them. In the present article, we will review the main symptoms to look for, the additional examinations which should be carried out, and the appropriate management of these patients.

What does this article teach us?

Through this article, we will draw the practitioner's attention to the poorly understood side effects of opioids, provide them with elements to help them diagnose these side effects and, if necessary, to treat them.

Key Words

Opioids, opium, opiates, hypogonadism, adrenal insufficiency, morphinics