One in 10 Americans experience chronic pain. Although opioids do play a role in the management of pain, long-term opioid use may lead to adverse effects. Endocrine-related adverse effects have been described but remain poorly recognized. Opioid-induced adrenal insufficiency occurs because of suppression of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal communication and may be challenging to diagnose but has been reported in 9% to 29% of patients receiving long-term opiate therapy. Little data exist to guide case detection and patient management. Treatment includes cessation of opiates (the inciting factor) if possible and glucocorticoid replacement.
Mayo Clin Proc. 2018 Jul;93(7):937-944. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2018.04.010.