Prescribing Practices Can Mitigate Opioid Overdose Risk for Teens

Lowest amount of opioids, short-acting opioids, avoiding concurrent use of opioids and benzodiazepines cut risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Older teens may have similar risk factors for prescription opioid overdose as adults, according to a study published online Dec. 16 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Kao-Ping Chua, M.D., Ph.D., from University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used the IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database (July 1, 2009, to Oct. 1, 2017) to identify opioid prescribing patterns associated with prescription opioid overdose in adolescents and young adults.

The researchers found that based on the 2,752,612 patients (mean age at baseline, 17.2 years; 52.8 percent female) included in the study, there were 4,686,355 opioid prescription claims (21,605,444 person-days). Overdose occurred in 249 patients (0.01 percent) on 255 person-days. There was a higher overdose risk associated with each increase in daily opioid dosage category (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.18). Both concurrent benzodiazepine use (aOR, 1.83) and extended-release or long-acting opioid use (aOR, 2.01) were associated with increased overdose risk compared with no use.

"The findings suggest that when prescribing opioids to adolescents and young adults, practitioners could potentially mitigate overdose risk by using the lowest effective dosage, avoiding concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine use, and relying on short-acting opioids," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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