Medical treatments can cause people to get sicker and cause them to get older, a new study says.
Medical treatments can make people more prone to illness, such as heart attacks and strokes, and more prone, such that they’re more likely to get worse, the researchers said.
In the study, published in the journal Drug Development and Research, researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of Southern California analyzed data from nearly 1,400 people who were hospitalized for an average of three days each year.
The people were followed for up to four years.
The researchers found that those who had been diagnosed with heart failure or stroke were more likely than the general population to be prescribed an opioid.
The drug was not associated with an increased risk of death from the disease, but researchers say the data suggest that the drug might increase the risk of deaths.
A doctor’s prescription of an opioid can increase a person’s risk of dying by as much as 30 percent, said Dr. Daniel Grossman, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical College.
“The increase in risk is really quite large,” he said.
“And this is because the drug is not necessarily the only thing that contributes to the increased risk.”
Researchers said the study is not conclusive, but they said the findings suggest the risk might be greater than previously thought.
The study is consistent with a growing body of literature showing that the use of opioids may increase the risks of heart attacks, strokes, liver damage and other serious health problems, according to the American College of Cardiology.
The association between opioid use and heart attacks is the strongest of any known risk factor, according a recent analysis by the Institute of Medicine.
The study found that in 2014, more than 1,600 people died from heart attacks or strokes, with the average person who died having been prescribed at least one prescription for opioids.
Drug makers have been pushing to make opioids more widely available and cheaper, with lawmakers in recent years passing several laws that make the drugs more expensive for Americans to use.
The Food and Drug Administration has said the medications must be less addictive, have lower rates of side effects and be less likely to cause addiction.
The agency said it was “not aware of any existing data that supports these claims.”
The new study by Grossman and his colleagues examined data from more than 6,500 people who had suffered heart attacks during a median of five years.
They looked at how much the patients spent on medical treatments for a variety of diseases and conditions and how long they were in the hospital.
The findings suggest that people who have been diagnosed as having a chronic disease or have a history of heart failure are more likely in the long term to have their symptoms worsen, the authors said.
For example, the people who got prescriptions for the painkiller OxyContin, which is used to treat chronic pain and pain-related symptoms, were more than twice as likely to have had their symptoms deteriorate over time, the study found.
People who took prescription painkillers also were more prone than people who did not to have an increase in heart attacks over time.
The people who took the painkillers had an increase of 12 percent in heart failure and 11 percent in stroke over the time period, compared to people who didn’t take the drugs.
“Our results indicate that the increased use of painkillers may have contributed to increased cardiovascular risk,” Grossman said.