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New Study Identifies Risks for Painkiller Addiction

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:04 PM
Monday, July 30, 2012

In a study published on September 2nd in HealthDay News the question of why some people are more likely to become addicted to opioid painkillers (like morphine, codeine or oxycodone) has now been partially unraveled by the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania.

For the study, Geisinger Health System researchers interviewed and analyzed DNA from 705 patients with back pain who were prescribed some kind of opioid painkillers for more than 90 days.

Geisinger Health System researchers found that the group most vulnerable to addiction has four main risk factors in common: age (being younger than 65); a history of depression; prior drug abuse; and using psychiatric medications. Painkiller addiction rates among patients with these factors are as high as 26 percent.

The researchers also looked at a gene located at chromosome 15 that had been linked with alcohol, cocaine and nicotine addiction. This study indicates that genetic mutations on a gene cluster on chromosome 15 may also be associated with opioid addiction.

According to Joseph Boscarino, an epidemiologist and a senior investigator at Geising’s Center for Health Research, “these findings suggest that patients with pre-existing risk factors are more likely to become addicted to painkillers, providing the foundation for further clinical evaluation.”  He Added, “by assessing patients in chronic pain for these risk factors before prescribing painkillers, doctors will be better able to treat their patients’ pain without the potential for future drug addiction.”

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