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Papers of the Week

2023 Feb 03

Vascul Pharmacol

Long-acting opioids and cardiovascular diseases: Help or hindrance!


Mehta A, Patel BM
Vascul Pharmacol. 2023 Feb 03:107144.
PMID: 36740214.


Opioids are widely being used for chronic pain management, cough and diarrhea suppressants, anesthetic agents, and opioid de-addiction therapy. Opioid receptors, present in the central nervous system and peripheral tissues, are documented to regulate several cardiac functions through different signaling pathways. Long-acting opioids (LAO) have been successfully evaluated for their beneficial effects in various cardiovascular diseases viz. myocardial infarction, ischemic reperfusion injuries, atherosclerosis etc. However, on the other hand, several research studies pointed towards the harmful effects of LAOs which are mainly associated with QTc prolongation, torsade de pointes, ventricular arrhythmias, and cardiac arrest. This review shall familiarize readers with the benefits as well as the harmful effects of long-acting opioids in cardiovascular diseases. We have also provided an overview of cardiac opioid receptors, endogenous cardiac opioid peptides, and regulation of cardiovascular functions by central and cardiac opioid receptors.