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Papers of the Week

Papers: 19 Aug 2023 - 25 Aug 2023

Psychology, Review

Human Studies, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development


2023 Aug 21

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol


The association between exercise and prescription opioid misuse: A scoping review.


Córdoba-Grueso WS, Mattey-Mora PP, Chen C, Galaviz KI, Parker MA


Exercise prevents chronic diseases and modulates pain. People experiencing pain often use opioids for relief, increasing the risk of prescription opioid misuse. Nonetheless, exercise may influence prescription opioid misuse through the release of endorphins or induced injury-related pain. We aimed to summarize the existing literature on the association between exercise and prescription opioid misuse. We identified studies published through December 2021 in Cochrane, Embase, Medline, and Pubmed, using search terms like “opioid-related disorders,” “opioid misuse,” “exercise,” and “sports.” Observational and experimental studies with adult samples published in English were included. Exclusion criteria included participants < 18 years old, studies including heroin use as the outcome, and studies conducted among pregnant or institutionalized individuals. The risk of bias and quality assessment were conducted independently by two authors using the National Institutes of Health Study Quality Assessment Tools, and decisions were cross-checked with a third author. Our search yielded 10,796 records, of which eight studies were included. These studies were heterogeneous clinically and methodologically. Three were intervention trials, three were cross-sectional, and two were cohort studies. Three studies evaluated yoga, two evaluated exercise, and three evaluated sports. Significant findings showed lower prescription opioid misuse among people who exercise, except for one study that showed greater odds of prescription opioid misuse among college athletes. We conclude that the findings on the association between exercise and prescription opioid misuse vary, even within similar study types and samples. Future researchers should consider large samples, standardized questions, and common outcome measures in research on exercise and prescription opioid misuse. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).