Opiates suppress the immune system

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:

Only Mae West would say that too much of a good thing is wonderful.

As for cancer patients, opiates not only delay healing, but they stun the immune system too.  People with bone mets who are on opiates are not being optimally served.

Here is an option to ask your doctor about:   Xyrem (GHB) which has been implicated in date rape (always  in conjunction with drinking alcohol) is a safe and effective alternative to the immuno-suppressive opiates:  Think of it:  if you can sleep through a date rape,  you can sleep through metastatic bone pain.  Xyrem can be used instead of opiates for people to get a good night’s sleep which includes stage 3 and 4 “deep” and restorative sleep.  (NOTE:  Xyrem should never be used in conjunction with opiates – see comments below)

Here is some of the problems with opiates:

Chronic Morphine Use Delays Wound Healing

ScienceDaily (Jan. 23, 2010) ”” Researchers led by Dr. Sabita Roy at the University of Minnesota have found that chronic morphine use delays wound healing in the presence on an infection.

They report their data in the February 2010 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

Morphine acts on cells in the central nervous system, resulting in pain relief and analgesia; however, morphine use may also affect the immune system. Indeed, chronic morphine users and opioid abusers have inadequate wound closure and increased susceptibility to infection.

To further address this issue, Martin et al examined wound healing in a mouse model of chronic morphine use/abuse. In the presence of inflammation, chronic morphine exposure resulted in a marked decrease in wound closure, compromised wound integrity, and increased bacterial sepsis. With morphine exposure, expression of particular immune molecules was altered, which led to decreased recruitment of immune cells to the wound site. New blood vessel formation and recruitment of replacement cells were also suppressed in these animals. These data suggest that the immunosuppression due to morphine treatment delays immune cell recruitment, leading to lack of bacterial clearance and delayed wound closure.

Dr. Roy’s group concludes that “these studies provide an in vivo tool by which further mechanistic experiments can be performed to address why, clinically, heroin-addicted patients often present with infected non-healing wounds. Understanding these underlying mechanisms affords improved treatment options not only for chronic morphine users and abusers, but can also have translational implications for immuno-compromised populations such as the elderly or those who are chronically stressed.”


Please do not use xryrem with opiate of other CNS Depressants. See Black Box Warning. I almost died on Dec 24 at a small dose. Cpr was performed. I was told i was toe tagged. Agree opiates are bad but I have intractable pain and have been on for 13 years. Very scary. I also read methylnaltrexone can help reverse the negative effects of the opiates and that was from the Univ of Chicago.
Bless you


Thank you for your excellent point, Staci:
To Clarify:
I would never recommend that Xyrem is use in conjunction with opiates.
I will clarify that further on the web page since it is reasonable to assume that if you misunderstood my words, others might also.
The intent of the communication was to describe Xyrem and an ALTERNATIVE TO and not an adjuvant or add on remedy.
Opiates are sub optimal in that, while they do lower pain, they do so at the expense of the immune system.
Xyrem, when appropriately prescribed, can SUBSTITUTE for opiates but they should never be taken at the same time.
Best wishes

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