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VOLUME 25 , ISSUE 1 ( January, 2021 ) > List of Articles


Opium-associated QT Interval Prolongation: A Cross-sectional Comparative Study

Hamid R Javadi, Seyed M Mirakbari, Abbas Allami, Zohreh Yazdi, Kimia Katebi

Citation Information : Javadi HR, Mirakbari SM, Allami A, Yazdi Z, Katebi K. Opium-associated QT Interval Prolongation: A Cross-sectional Comparative Study. Indian J Crit Care Med 2021; 25 (1):43-47.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-23596

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 12-04-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2021; The Author(s).


Background: Toxicity and side effects of long-term use of opioids are well studied, but little information exists regarding electrophysiological disturbances of opium consumption. While natural opium has been regarded safe to a great extent among traditional communities, concerns are emerging owing to the available evidence of QT prolongation that have been exposed during recent outcome surveillance of patients under opioid use. Potential QT prolonging interactions would raise a higher level of such concern in opium users during COVID pandemic and warrant attention. Materials and methods: This study was designed to detect the prevalence of QTc prolongation among opium users and nonusers. Two groups were compared with regard to gender, age, and median QTc interval. Normal and prolonged QTc intervals of user group were compared with respect to age, sex, dose of opium consumption, and duration of opium consumption. Results: 123 opium users and 39 controls were investigated. Median QTc interval in opium user and non-user group was 460 vs 386 milliseconds, respectively (p value < 0.001). In all, 59.3%, (95% CI: 50.51–67.62%) of cases and none of non-user had prolonged QTc interval (p value < 0.001). There was no significance between normal and prolonged QTc intervals with respect to dose and duration of opium use. Conclusion: This study indicated that opium consumption is associated with QTc prolongation. This prolongation does not relate to dose and duration of opium use. Further study is propounded to assess the clinical significance of these results and to determine risk rating of opium compared to other opioids in this regard.

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