After Nonfatal Overdose, Most Patients Prescribed More Opioids

Cumulative incidence of repeated overdose 17 percent for those receiving high doses after overdose


TUESDAY, Dec. 29, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a nonfatal opioid overdose are almost always prescribed opioids after overdose, according to a study published online Dec. 29 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Marc R. Larochelle, M.D., M.P.H., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues determined prescribed opioid dosage after an opioid overdose in a retrospective cohort study. Data were included for 2,848 commercially insured patients, aged 18 to 64 years, who had a nonfatal opioid overdose during long-term opioid therapy for noncancer pain.

The researchers found that opioids were dispensed to 91 percent of patients after an overdose, during a median follow-up of 299 days. A repeated opioid overdose was reported for 7 percent of patients. For patients receiving high, moderate, and low dosages of opioids, and no opioids after the index overdose, the cumulative incidence of repeated overdose was 17, 15, 9, and 8 percent, respectively, at two years.

"Almost all patients continue to receive prescription opioids after an overdose," the authors write. "Opioid discontinuation after overdose is associated with lower risk for repeated overdose."

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Physician’s Briefing Staff

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Published on December 29, 2015

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