Sunday, May 19, 2013

Men who take prescription painkillers are 50% more likely to develop erectile dysfunction

Men who regularly take prescription painkillers have an increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction, according to a new study.

Researchers found that regularly taking opioids, including codeine, increased a man’s risk of the condition.

The study, published in the journal Spine, revealed that 19 per cent of men who took high-dose opioids for at least four months developed ED.  In comparison, seven per cent of men who do not take opioids suffer from ED.

Therefore, people taking opioids are more than 50 per cent more likely to develop ED than those who are not taking the medication.

The most commonly used prescription opioids are hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine.

The study of 11,000 men with back pain also showed that men over the age of 60 are much more likely to develop ED than younger men are.

‘Men who take opioid pain medications for an extended period of time have the highest risk of ED,’ said lead author Richard Deyo, investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Centre for Health Research and Professor of Evidence-based Family Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.

He added: ‘This doesn't mean that these medications cause ED, but the association is something patients and clinicians should be aware of when deciding if opioids should be used to treat back pain.

‘There is no question that for some patients opioid use is appropriate, but there is also increasing evidence that long-term use can lead to addiction, fatal overdoses, sleep apnea, falls in the elderly, reduced hormone production, and now erectile dysfunction.’

Researchers found that age was the factor most significantly associated with receiving ED prescriptions. Men aged between 60 and 69 were 14 times more likely to receive prescriptions for ED medication than men aged 18 to 29.

Depression and use of sedative hypnotics like benzodiazepines also increased the likelihood that a man would develop ED.


Coffee is more than just a hangover pick-me-up as it also fights the effects of alcohol

This relies on self-report so is rather shaky

It is the perfect pick-me-up for the morning after the night before.  Now new research shows that a mug of coffee can do more for a bleary-eyed reveller than simply lift a hangover.

Finnish scientists have found that a steady stream of the black stuff can offset some of the harmful effects of alcohol too.

Five or more cups of coffee a day can slash levels of an enzyme known to be a precursor to liver damage, heart disease and diabetes by up to 50 per cent, especially in men.

Last night, experts welcomed the findings. Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said: ‘Many people do tend to reach for a coffee after a night out drinking and here is evidence of its beneficial effects.

‘Of course, you should try to avoid the situation of having too much alcohol in the first place but the five-cups-a-day message is worth bearing in mind. 

‘The next step is for a large-scale study to be undertaken in the UK too so the healing effects of coffee can be proven even closer to home.’

Regular alcohol consumption is known to increase levels in the body of GGT, an enzyme which is a risk factor in a range of illnesses.

Academics at Tampere University and Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare studied nearly 19,000 people over a decade.  They quizzed them on their health, medical history and intake of alcohol and coffee and measured their levels of GGT.

Their report, published in the journal Alcohol And Alcoholism, concludes: ‘Consumption of over 280g of ethanol per week [13.5 pints of beer or 3.7 bottles of wine] was found to lead to an approximate threefold increase in GGT activities when compared with the corresponding group of abstainers.

‘Regular consumption of five or more cups of coffee per day in this subpopulation was in turn associated with an approximate 50 per cent reduction in GGT activities.

‘Taken together, our findings suggest that high intake of coffee leads to lower GGT levels in heavy alcohol consumers, particularly, among men.’

Professor Roger Williams of the Foundation for Liver Research in London said: ‘Past research has shown that certain of the organic chemicals in coffee have been found to have a favourable effect on the processes of liver injury and I imagine that is what is being shown in the heavy drinkers here.’

And, last night, the coffee industry claimed the beverage is now losing its reputation for giving drinkers nothing more than a caffeine rush.

Dr Euan Paul of the British Coffee Association added: ‘It is one of the most heavily researched products in the world today.

‘Other scientific studies have shown that four to five cups per day may be associated with other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

‘All of this contributes to the growing body of evidence that coffee, when drunk in moderation, is safe and part of a healthy diet.’


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