Omega-s fatty acids may boost the pain-killing powers and reduce the side effects of popular opioids when used together, according to new research. The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology published the study, which was noted on medicalxpress.com.
Though morphine is one of the most widely used drug for controlling moderate to severe pain, it often brings on dreadful side effects, like nausea, vomiting, sedation, weight loss, drowsiness, constipation, involuntary muscle jerking (myoclonus) and itchiness. Patients can also build up a tolerance to morphine, and, the drug may create a condition that actually increases a patient’s sensitivity to pain. Managing these side effects remains a major challenge for clinicians, according to the study.
Researchers from the Universidad Nacional de La Rioja in Argentina conducted a study using rats to analyze the effects of omega-3 fatty acids with acute doses of morphine. They found that adding the omegas increased the morphine’s painkilling effect. Rats that received both the fatty acids and the morphine showed fewer side effects than those who were given just the morphine. Additionally, rats who got the combo were less likely to develop a tolerance to the painkiller.
“The finding suggests a role for omega-3 as adjuncts to opioids in pain therapy and might contribute to the reduction of the occurrence of morphine side effects,” wrote the authors.
The study is just the latest revealing the power of mighty omegas. 84,000 heart-related deaths in the U.S. could have been prevented each year with just 250 daily milligrams of the omega-3s, EPA and DHA, according to the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3. The two compounds have been shown to support normal triglycerides and blood pressure and they may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.