Opioids are widely used for their analgesic properties for the management of acute and chronic pain related to a variety of illnesses. Opioid usage is associated with adverse effects on respiration which are often attributed to depression of the central nervous system. Recent data indicate that opioid use has increased over the last two decades. There is also increasing evidence that opioids have a variety of effects on the lungs besides suppression of respiration. Opioids can affect immune cells function, increase histamine release causing bronchospasm, vaso-constriction and hypersensitivity reactions. Together, these actions have a variety of effects on lung function. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the effects of opioids on the lungs including the respiratory centre, immune function, airways and pulmonary vasculature.
- clinical allergy and immunology
- clinical respiratory medicine
- critical care medicine
- molecular biology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine