Opiates like Morphine suppress the Immune System

Dr. Weeks Comment: What cures your cancer? Your immune system. Not chemo or radiation. It is always the doctor within your immune system which cures cancer if it is to be cured. But what to do about pain from cancer? If you take opiates like heroin, morphine sulfate, oxycodone etc, then scientifically speaking, your doctor has given up on you and does not expect you to recover. He is giving you comfort care but not treatment with a goal to help you recovery. Yet just today, I was disappointed to learn that a board certified oncologist told a client to his face that opioids do NOT suppress the immune system. That doctor was either lying or he was ignorant of the scientific research such as this definitive article which declares: “…Morphine can decrease the effectiveness of several functions of both natural and adaptive immunity, and significantly reduces cellular immunity…” and “…In addition to their therapeutic efficacy, opioids can produce several well known adverse events, and, as has recently been recognized, can interfere with the immune response...”

What are the best options for pain? 1) CorThot™, 2) gentle exercise and range of motion; 3) getting a good night’s sleep (deep stages) , 4) Eating and rubbing transdermally safe and powerful anti-inflammatory omega 6 seeds, 5) avoiding inflammatory foods (dairy meat sugar alcohol) and 6) eating the anti-inflammatory diet and if you need medications 7) methadone or buprenorphine (see below) both of which stop pain but do NOT interfere with your lifesaving immune function. And to good the immune function, you need highly bioavailable organic seed protein, not meat (which is hard to digest and absorb as we get older or sick).

Palliat Med. 2006;20 Suppl 1:s9-15.

Opioids and the immune system.

Sacerdote P1.

1 Department of Pharmacology, University of Milan, Via Vanvitelli 32, 20129 Milan, Italy. paola.sacerdote@unimi.it

Abstract

Opioid compounds such as morphine produce powerful analgesia that is effective in treating various types of pain. In addition to their therapeutic efficacy, opioids can produce several well known adverse events, and, as has recently been recognized, can interfere with the immune response. The immunomodulatory activities of morphine have been characterized in animal and human studies. Morphine can decrease the effectiveness of several functions of both natural and adaptive immunity, and significantly reduces cellular immunity. Indeed, in animal studies morphine is consistently associated with increased morbidity and mortality due to infection and worsening of cancer. However, from several animal studies it emerges that not all opioids induce the same immunosuppressive effects, and evaluating each opioid’s profile is important for appropriate analgesic selection. Buprenorphine is a potent opioid that is frequently prescribed for chronic pain. Acute intracerebroventricular administration of buprenorphine has been shown in rats not to affect cellular immune responses, while a statistically significant inhibition of the immune response was observed with morphine. In mouse studies, chronic administration of buprenorphine led to immune parameters important for antimicrobial responses or for anti-tumour surveillance (lymphoproliferation, natural killer (NK)-lymphocyte activity, cytokine production, lymphocyte number) being unaffected. In contrast, levels of these immune markers were significantly reduced when the potent micro-agonist fentanyl was administered, but recovered after longer periods as tolerance developed. Because the intrinsic immunosuppressive activity varies between individual opioids, predicting the outcome on immunity can be difficult. To study this, the effects of morphine, fentanyl and buprenorphine on NK-lymphocyte activity depressed by experimental surgery were examined in rats. Treating animals immediately after surgery with equianalgesic doses of morphine and buprenorphine significantly reduced surgery-induced immunosuppression. However, buprenorphine reverted NK-lymphocyte activity to preoperative levels, while in morphine-treated rats NK-lymphocyte activity was ameliorated, although not completely. In contrast, fentanyl did not prevent immunosuppression induced by surgery. Overall, from several animal studies it emerges that buprenorphine has the more favourable profile, being a potent analgesic devoid of intrinsic immunosuppressive activity.

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Dr. Weeks Comment: What cures your cancer? Your immune system. Not chemo or radiation. It is always the doctor within your immune system which cures cancer if it is to be cured. But what to do about pain from cancer? If you take opiates like heroin, morphine sulfate, oxycodone etc, then scientifically speaking, your doctor…
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