If you take medication for pain relief, researchers in California have found that one type is five times more likely to reduce your testosterone levels than other kinds.
The scientists have found that long-acting opioids instead of short-acting medications are much more likely to decrease testosterone.
The researchers note that the use of opioid-based medications such as oxycodone (Oxycontin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) for treating chronic, non-cancer pain has increased dramatically in recent decades. An estimated 4.3 million Americans use these types of drugs on a daily basis for pain.
The study compared the use of short-acting opioids, which immediately release the pain medication and are taken every four to six hours, and long-acting opioids, which slowly release the pain medication and are taken every eight to 12 hours.
“These medications work well for short-term, acute pain,” says researcher Andrea Rubinstein. “It has long been extrapolated that they can also be used safely long-term to control chronic pain. We are now finding that the long-term use of opioids may have important unintended health consequences.”