Study finds harm "Dramatically" On the intestines caused by strong and common painkillers

Scientists have long known that a group of strong prescription painkillers cause bowel problems, but they haven’t determined exactly how.

And legal opioids, a group of drugs used to treat acute and chronic pain, can cause devastating side effects. Nausea, vomiting, and constipation are common in people who use drugs such as morphine and co-codamol.

According to a study published in The American Journal of Pathology suggests that the “dramatic” damage and “cell death” in the gut caused by these drugs may be the underlying cause of these common problems.

The team that led the study treated some mice with morphine, a powerful opioid pain reliever, and others with a placebo.

In mice injected with the analgesic, the team observed a buildup of stomach acid and slowed gastric emptying, which appeared to damage the mice’s intestines.

Gastric emptying is the process of removing food from the stomach. The longer this process lasts, the longer the acid remains in the stomach, which can lead to inflammation of the surrounding tissues.

The scientists explained that the morphine caused “significant disruption” in the cells that produce mucus, as well as the cells that line the stomach, known as the zona glandularis.

They also noted an increase in dead cells, or “programmed cells.” These signs, they add, are typical signs of “stomach damage.”

Surprisingly, the scientists noticed “dramatic edema” in the animals. It was noted that the stomach size of mice treated with morphine increased three times compared to mice treated with placebo.

Scientists believe that opioids are closely related to a chemical called the cytokine interleukin-6 (interleukin-6 or IL-6). Samples given morphine contained “elevated levels” of the chemical.

And mice that didn’t have high levels of the cytokine IL-6 didn’t have the same negative effects from morphine.

Notably, “interleukin-6” is a chemical that has been strongly associated with inflammation throughout the body.

Because the study was done in mice, this effect cannot be confirmed to be relevant in humans and more experimentation may be needed.

Source: Express