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Drug Test Anal. 2017 Oct;9(10):1555-1560. doi: 10.1002/dta.2174. Epub 2017 Mar 31.

An exploratory study Evaluating the impact of opioid and non-opioid pain medications on serum/plasma free testosterone and free estradiol concentrations.

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ARUP Institute for Clinical and Experimental Pathology, 500 Chipeta Way, Salt Lake City, UT, 84108, USA.
Department of Medicine, University of Utah, 30 N. 1900 E, Salt Lake City, UT, 84132, USA.
Department of Anesthesiology, University of Utah, 30 N. 1900 E, Salt Lake City, 84132, USA.
Department of Pathology, University of Utah, 15 N Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, USA.


Chronic use of opioid medications has been reported to cause altered sexual function. It is not known if non-opioid pain medications have similar effects. Assessment of this effect through the measurement of concentrations of free hormones is limited. Positivity of opioid medications (hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, methadone, tramadol and fentanyl) and non-opioid pain medications (gabapentin or pregabalin) in human serum and plasma samples from adult men and women were evaluated for association with concentrations of free testosterone (fTe) and free estradiol (fE2) measured using equilibrium dialysis-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry methods. Lower concentrations of fTe (p = 0.0253) were observed in samples positive for the hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine group compared to age matched controls. The presence of methadone, tramadol, fentanyl and pregabalin had no effect on fTe. When compared with age-matched controls, women between 48-55 years of age showed reduced fE2 concentrations in samples positive for tramadol, fentanyl and gabapentin (p = 0.0243, 0.0045 and 0.0050, respectively). Particular opioid medications such as methadone, tramadol or fentanyl and non-opioid medications such as pregabalin or gabapentin may offer advantages over opioid medications for treating pain with fewer endocrinologic side effects. Measurement of free hormones in pain medication users could be important in determining their association with sexual function.


Equilibrium Dialysis; LC-MS/MS; free hormone; non-opioids; opioids

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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