Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit

Too Few People Treated for Opioid Use Get Anti-Overdose Med

  • 0
Too Few People Treated for Opioid Use Get Anti-Overdose Med

FRIDAY, May 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- A potentially lifesaving drug that reduces overdose risk is prescribed to less than half of Americans treated for opioid addiction, a new study finds.

This underuse of buprenorphine is "equivalent to giving those with advanced cancer a less aggressive treatment," said senior investigator Dr. Laura Bierut. She is a professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"It seems obvious to many of us that we should be giving the most aggressive and effective treatments to those who are most seriously ill," Bierut added in a university news release.

For the study, Bierut and her colleagues analyzed health insurance data on about 180,000 people nationwide treated for opioid use disorder from 2011 to 2016. Only 47% of them were prescribed buprenorphine, and the rate was even lower (about 30%) for opioid users who also misuse other substances such as alcohol, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines or cocaine.

The study was published online May 10 in JAMA Network Open.

"It's concerning that the majority of people misusing multiple substances don't appear to be getting the lifesaving medication they really need," said study co-author Dr. Kevin Xu, a resident physician in the university's psychiatry department.

"While the data we analyzed predates COVID-19, the pandemic saw an escalation in overdoses, yet we're still not seeing many eligible patients get buprenorphine prescriptions," Xu noted.

The data the researchers analyzed are a few years old, Bierut said. "But we think this information can be extrapolated to what's happening now because even more people using opioids — or using opioids as well as other substances — are showing up in emergency departments today. The problem has only gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic," she added.

Nearly 107,000 people in the United States died of drug overdoses from early 2021 through early 2022, compared with 70,237 drug overdose deaths in 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are a number of possible reasons for the low rate of buprenorphine prescriptions among people treated for opioid addiction, according to Xu.

Buprenorphine itself is an opioid, which may make doctors hesitant to prescribe it to people with opioid addiction. Buprenorphine can be taken at home and does not require daily trips to a clinic, but that lack of supervision could also affect decisions about prescribing it. Another reason may be insufficient data about the drug's effectiveness in those who misuse multiple substances.

But such concerns appear to be unfounded, Xu said.

"Buprenorphine appears to be a safe opioid," he noted. "It's specifically designed to be different from other opioid drugs in that it won't cause a user to stop breathing, which pretty much every other type of opioid will do. That means it can be taken safely at home, which is very helpful, even essential, to recovery."

More information

There's more on opioid addiction at the American Academy of Family Physicians.

SOURCE: Washington University School of Medicine, news release, May 10, 2022

0 Comments

Originally published on consumer.healthday.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.

Build your health & fitness knowledge

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit by Arizona challenging the part of President Joe Biden’s massive coronavirus rescue law that bars states from using the federal money to offset tax cuts. Thursday's ruling from a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a decision by a federal judge in Phoenix who said Arizona did not have the right to sue. The panel did not rule on the merits of the case. The same Arizona federal judge will now weigh the state’s allegation that Congress overstepped its authority when it tied acceptance of American Rescue Plan Act money to state certification that it would not be used to offset tax cuts.

Britain's Conservative government has unveiled a $19 billion package to ease a severe cost-of-living squeeze. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak said Thursday that the government would introduce a temporary windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas firms. The tax is expected to raise around 5 billion pounds ($6.3 billion) over the next year and fund cash payments to help millions of people cope with sharply rising energy bills. Sunak says about 8 million of the country’s lowest-income households will receive a one-time government payment of 650 pounds ($818). The announcement came a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to “move on” from the “partygate” scandal over social events held in government buildings that broke COVID-19 lockdown rules.

The loudest voices in the abortion debate are often characterized along a starkly religious divide, the faithful versus not. But the reality is much more nuanced, both at an Alabama abortion clinic and in the nation that surrounds it. The clinic’s staff of 11 — most of them Black, deeply faithful Christian women — have no trouble at all reconciling their work with their religion. And as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to dismantle the constitutional right to an abortion, they draw on their faith that they will somehow continue. God is on our side, they tell each other. God will keep this clinic open.

The U.S. Air Force Academy says three cadets who have refused the COVID-19 vaccine will not be commissioned as military officers but will graduate with bachelor’s degrees. Academy spokesman Dean Miller says a fourth cadet who only recently decided to be vaccinated will graduate and become an Air Force officer. Miller said in a statement Saturday that the three won't be commissioned as long as they remain unvaccinated. He says the Air Force secretary will decide whether the unvaccinated students will be required to pay their educational costs in lieu of service.

Being in debt can affect every corner of your life, like your relationships and career decisions. It can cause stress, leading to physical symptoms including insomnia and stomach aches. Debt can also bring up negative emotions like guilt, anger, shame and a sense of hopelessness. But you don’t have to suffer in silence. Taking care of yourself while getting emotional support from people you trust is crucial while you review your finances and set money goals. This can help you regain a sense of control as you pay down your balances.

The South Carolina House has approved a bill that require doctors to tell women who seek medication to have an abortion that there is an unproven way to reverse the procedure. The 71-29 vote Wednesday sent the bill to the Senate, where its ultimate fate is unclear. There is just six legislative days left in the 2022 General Assembly’s regular session. Chemical abortions require two drugs and the bill would have doctors say research has shown a pregnancy can be saved after the first pill is taken. But several OB-GYNs testified during a subcommittee hearing there is no clinical proof the procedure can be reversed and attempts could endanger the life of the woman.

FRIDAY, May 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of risk factors for Alzheimer disease and related dementias varies and is highest for high blood pressure and not meeting aerobic physical activity guidelines, according to research published in the May 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

President Joe Biden says cases of monkeypox are “something that everybody should be concerned about.” The president made his first public comments on the disease after being asked about it during his visit to South Korea. He said there's work underway to identify an effective vaccine. And he added that if the disease were to spread "it would be consequential.” The disease is rarely identified outside of Africa, but there have been a number of recent cases in Europe and at least two in the United States. Most people recover from monkeypox without hospitalization, but it can be fatal.

The former director of the Ohio state prison system has emerged as a leading contender to run the crisis-plagued federal Bureau of Prisons. That's according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press. The people say Gary Mohr is among the top contenders to replace Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal. Carvajal submitted his resignation in January but said he would stay on until a successor was named. The people cautioned a final decision has not been made. Mohr said Saturday he was “shocked to see an article" describing him as a contender for the position and denied he had applied or been interviewed.