Drinking alcohol while taking powerful opioid pain medication can cause potentially fatal breathing problems, especially in the elderly. This was proved by a new study.
Unfortunately, doctors in the world are increasingly faced with deaths in emergency departments associated with misuse or abuse of prescription opioids, such as Ultram, while drinking alcohol. This is what research results say.
Respiratory depression (a condition characterized by oppression or temporary arrest of respiration) is a potentially lethal side effect of opioid drugs. It was found that alcohol aggravates the already serious side effects of opioids and makes the effect detrimental to the body.
According to the US National Institute for Drug Abuse Control, more than 2 million Americans are taking opioids out of their intended use. Every day 78 people die from an overdose. At the same time, reports show that the frequent cause of death in these cases is the simultaneous use of alcohol.
The authors of the study reported that even one tablet of Tramadol, taken with a moderate amount of alcohol, increases the risk of developing respiratory depression. This happens because of the risk of poisoning. As you know, the body’s reaction to alcohol is nothing more than a reaction to food poisoning, while alcohol vapors also act on brain activity. The use of a powerful opium-based analgesic may have an aggravated effect under the influence of alcoholic beverages, and this applies not only to strong alcohol types but also to weaker ones, such as wine or beer. The reaction may seem insignificant or completely absent, however, it is not so: it takes the body more time to react to the influence of a drink. Moreover, the so-called hangover effect is mixed with the reaction to the drug, since Tramadol, like many other drugs, including, for example, hypnotics (Soma), has a side effect in the form of rapid fatigue, weakness, dizziness. All this looks like an ordinary hangover, but the body would have survived it much easier and faster, if not for the help of alcohol.
It is known that after drinking alcohol, people usually experience some good emotions and that it has an effect on the brain, but the new study has moved further, focusing the brain areas influenced by alcohol. A new study, using brain tomography, can help to understand this addiction better, may help find new methods of treating people with alcohol or other drug addiction. Researchers managed to find some varieties in the brain’s pleasure center that reacts to alcohol for two types of people: those who abuse it and those who drink rarely and in the small amounts.
Drinking alcohol causes the production of natural opioids, also known as endorphins, which provoke a pleasant state in the two brain areas associated with the pleasure process. But alcohol abusers develop the bigger amount of endorphins so they report that they feel drunker than low-drinking people, having drunk the same amount of alcohol. Thus, the drug causes more addiction in those who abuse alcohol because of a positive initial reaction. The body just gets used to producing endorphins and this reaction suits it. To avoid negative consequences, exclude alcohol intake not only during treatment but also during the recovery from the course of Tramadol.