The findings showed that people on opiates and cardio-metabolic drugs reported 95% rates of obesity, 82% “very high” waist circumference and 63% hypertension, as opposed to those on cardio-metabolic drugs only. These chronic pain medications should be prescribed for shorter periods of time to limit serious health complications, the researchers suggested. “We already know that opiates are dependency-forming, but this study also found patients taking opiates have the worst health. “These results add further weight to calls for chronic pain medications to be prescribed for shorter periods,” Cassidy added. Body mass index, waist circumference and blood pressure were compared between those taking painkillers for chronic, non-cancer pain and cardio-metabolic drugs, compared to those prescribed cardio-metabolic treatment only.