A study from George Washington University (GW) suggests that in patients with chronic wounds, those who do not ingest opioids heal faster than those who do.

In the study, published in Wound Repair and Regeneration, Victoria Shanmugam, MD, and her team studied 450 subjects enrolled in the WE-HEAL biorepository. Data was collected using baseline characteristics, such as pain score, longitudinal opioid exposure, and total wound surface area. Opioid dose was found to be significantly associated with total wound surface area, explains a media release from George Washington University.

“Opioid analgestics are commonly prescribed to patients with chronic wounds, but until now, little to no research had been done to determine the relationship between opioid treatment and wound healing,” says Shanmugam, associate professor of medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in the release. “It seems that exposing patients to opioids may impact ultimate wound outcome.

The data from the study suggests there could be a strong correlation between opioid intake and chronic wound healing. However, further research will be required to determine whether there is a causal relationship.

“More work needs to be done to understand this finding and the possible mechanisms driving it. Finding ways to improve healing of chronic wounds will have an enormous effect on patients and the healthcare system,” Shanmugam adds.

[Source(s): George Washington University, Science Daily]