Treating Depression May Help Patients Stop Long-Term Prescription Opioid Use

Patients with long-term opioid prescriptions and depression who take antidepressants are more likely to stop using opioids, a new study concludes.

“Depression can worsen pain and is common in patients who remain long-term prescription opioid users,” lead researcher Jeffrey Scherrer, PhD, of Saint Louis University said in a news release. “Our study should encourage clinicians to determine if their non-cancer pain patients are suffering from depression and aggressively treat patients’ depression to reduce opioid use.”

He added, “Effective depression treatment may break the mutually reinforcing opioid-depression relationship and increase the likelihood of successful opioid cessation.”

The findings will be published in British Journal of Psychiatry.

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