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Long-Term Opiate Effects

Table of Contents

There are very severe side effects and symptoms that could be a result of opiate use, which include nausea, fatigue, anxiety, muscle spasms, and irritability.  While most patients are aware of potential side effects, many are rarely warned of the severe long-term effects opiates can have on their bodies.  Patients who are recovering from surgery or are experiencing minor pain can be prescribed opiates for either short or long-term use, and when taken exactly as prescribed opiates can be used to manage pain effectively.  However, most chronic pain patients must find a long-term solution for their pain, which is usually a treatment program that includes opiate painkillers like Oxycontin and hydrocodone.
Negative long-term effects of opiates can include:

  • Hyperalgesia
  • Dependency
  • Increased tolerance
  • Chronic constipation
  • Arthritis
  • Anemia
  • Decreased levels of testosterone
  • Central nervous system hyperactivity
  • Weakened immune system
  • Heart and valve infections
  • Liver disease
  • Risk of pulmonary and respiratory infections

A major concern for chronic long-term opiate use is increased tolerance of the drugs.  Opiate tolerance occurs when the body becomes familiar with having a drug or substance in the system over a period of time.  As a tolerance develops, the body craves a higher dosage of medication in order to achieve the same pain relief.  Tolerance is usually a sign that the dosage or frequency of usage may be too much and the drug use is progressing to a dependency.  Once a dependency occurs, the body goes through withdrawal when it stops receiving its usual dosage of opiates.  While withdrawal is extremely painful and distressing, it is not fatal in most cases.  However, continued opiate use can easily lead to overdose or any of the long-term side effects, which can be life-threatening.
If you or a loved one is struggling with dependency to prescription painkillers, we urge you to contact your medical physicians.  For more information on choosing an opiate detox program for yourself or a loved one, please feel free to contact our office directly.  The Waismann Method is a safe and proven treatment for opiate dependency that utilizes the most advanced medical techniques available.  The rapid opiate detoxification procedure is carried out in a full-service hospital in Southern California by board-certified anesthesiologists while patients remain under deep sedation, so they experience minimal conscious withdrawal or suffering.

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