Opioids may not help chronic wound patients heal, study shows

Patients suffering from chronic wounds heal faster when they do not receive opioids as compared to when they do, according to a study published in Wound Repair and Regeneration.

Researchers studied 450 subjects enrolled in the WE-HEAL biorepository, a wound etiology and healing study, which George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., is conducting. The researchers collected data using baseline characteristics, such as pain score, longitudinal opioid exposure and total wound surface area.

The researchers found that opioid exposure was associated with a lower likelihood of healing in chronic wound patients. Additionally, opioid dose was significantly associated with total wound surface area.

However, "more work needs to be done to understand this finding and the possible mechanisms driving it. We look forward to continuing this research, which may lead to faster healing and improved patient outcomes," said GW researcher Victoria Shanmugam, MD.

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