Patients With Opioid Addiction Benefit From Tx Initiated in ER

Giving drugs to reduce cravings appears to be effective option, researchers find

emergency room sign

TUESDAY, Feb. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Patients addicted to opioids treated in a hospital emergency department do better when they receive medication to reduce opioid cravings, according to a study published online Feb. 13 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The study looked at 290 patients addicted to opioids who went to an emergency department. They received one of three treatments: a referral to addiction treatment services; a short interview, including discussion of treatment; or a brief interview and the medication buprenorphine. The patients given medication also continued treatment with their primary care doctor.

After two months of follow-up, the researchers found that patients who received buprenorphine were more likely to be in formal addiction treatment and to report reduced opioid use than those in the other two groups.

"The emergency department visit is an ideal opportunity to identify patients with opioid use disorder and initiate treatment and direct referral, similar to best practices for other diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes," study co-leader Gail D'Onofrio, M.D., chair of emergency medicine at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., said in a Yale news release.

The study was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals provided buprenorphine through the NIDA.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Physician's Briefing