Medications for Opioid Use Disorder May Reduce Mortality in Overdose Survivors

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A minority of opioid overdose survivors receive medications for opioid use disorder; buprenorphine and methadone maintenance treatment linked are linked to reduced mortality.
A minority of opioid overdose survivors receive medications for opioid use disorder; buprenorphine and methadone maintenance treatment linked are linked to reduced mortality.

HealthDay News — Use of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) is associated with a reduction in all-cause and opioid-related mortality after opioid overdose, according to a study published online June 19 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

In a retrospective cohort study, Marc R. Larochelle, M.D., M.P.H., from the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues examined whether use of MOUD after opioid overdose correlated with opioid-related mortality. Data were obtained from seven individually linked data sets for 17,568 Massachusetts adults without cancer who survived an opioid overdose between 2012 and 2014. Three types of MOUD were assessed: methadone maintenance treatment (MMT), buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

The researchers found that in the 12 months after a nonfatal overdose, 11, 17, and 6 percent of individuals enrolled in MMT for a median of five months, received buprenorphine for a median of four months, and received naltrexone for a median of one month, respectively. All-cause mortality and opioid-related mortality were 4.7 and 2.1 deaths per 100 person-years among the entire cohort, respectively. Compared with no MOUD, there were reductions in all-cause and opioid-related mortality for MMT (adjusted hazard ratios, 0.47 and 0.41, respectively) and buprenorphine (adjusted hazard ratios, 0.63 and 0.62, respectively). No correlations were seen for naltrexone.

"A minority of opioid overdose survivors received MOUD," the authors write. "Buprenorphine and MMT were associated with reduced all-cause and opioid-related mortality."

One author disclosed financial ties to the GE Foundation.

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