Mohammad Masoomi MD1, Nahid Azdaki MD2, Beydolah Shahouzehi3


Physiology Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

1- Associate Professor, Physiology Research Center, Institute of Basic and Clinical Physiology Sciences, Kerman University of Medical
Sciences, Kerman, Iran
2- Resident, Atherosclerosis and Coronary Artery Research Center, Brjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran
3- PhD Student, Physiology Research Center, Institute of Neuropharmacology, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


Background: Although the triggering role of both opium use and elevated plasma homocysteine level for
progressing atherosclerosis and, therefore, appearing coronary heart disease has been clearly determined, no
study are available with respect to the relation between these to risk profiles. In the present study and for the
first time, we hypothesized that the opium addiction can be potentially correlated with elevated
homocysteine concentration.
Methods: 217 persons (103 opium-addicted and 114 non-addicted) were randomly selected from the Kerman
Coronary Artery Disease Risk Study (KERCADRS), Iran, as a population-based, epidemiological prospective
study. In all participants, an enzyme immunoassay kit was used to measure homocysteine in serum samples.
Findings: The serum level of homocysteine was significantly higher in the opium-addicted ones compared to
non-addicted individuals (11.49 ± 7.45 vs. 8.02 ± 3.87 μmol/l) (P < 0.001). In this regard, 21.3% of the opium
users and only 3.2% of the non-users had homocysteine concentration > 15 μmol/l (P < 0.001). On the other
hand, individuals addicted to opiates exhibited significantly elevated odds of having homocysteine level
higher than 15 [odds ratio (OR) = 8.244, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 3.117-21.806]. Multivariable linear
regression model showed that the opium addiction could strongly predict elevated homocysteine level in the
study individuals [beta = 3.524, standard error (SE) = 0.852] (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Opium consumption can be strongly accompanied with the elevation of plasma homocysteine
concentration, and thus opium addiction can exhibit elevated odds of having hyperhomocysteinemia.
Keywords: Opium addiction, Homocysteine, Cardiovascular disease