Monday, November 03, 2008

"Broken Heart Syndrome" Can Result From Opioid Withdrawal

Oxycontin is also an opioid and the withdrawal symptoms can be just as hard and risky. Based on a study about opioid withdrawal, it shows that the abrupt withdrawal from high-dose opioids or the use of cocaine increase the risk of cardiac event.

The findings shed light on "broken heart syndrome," a still somewhat uncommon disorder first described in Japan 15 years ago that mimics a heart attack. Patients may experience shortness of breath and chest pain and, upon hospital admission, go through extensive tests to determine a diagnosis and rule out heart attack.

Opioids such as OxyContin are becoming increasingly common for pain management, the report's authors say. Given the drug's prevalence, physicians should proceed with caution when removing patients from high-dose opioids in order to avoid serious complications and hospitalizations, says Juanita Rivera, M.D., an anesthesiologist with Mayo Clinic Rochester and lead author of the report.


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