Neuroendocrine Implications of Opioid Therapy

Journal: Current Pain and Headache Reports. April 2007, 11:89-92

Author and affiliation: B. Eliot Cole, MD, MPA. American Society of Pain Educators, Montclair, New Jersey, USA. [E-mail: ]

Opioid analgesics are given to people with pain. These medications are highly effective for relieving pain and are generally considered to have little or no end-organ toxicities.

Although they are generally feared because of their potential for abuse, diversion, and psychological dependence, little attention is given to their neuroendocrine consequences.

They are known to have central nervous systems effects and are now understood to impact the regulation of gonadotropic hormones [released by the anterior pituitary gland and affecting the ovaries and testes].

Providing meaningful informed consent requires disclosure about the risks associated with lowered gonadotropic hormone levels.

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