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Most continue to receive opioid prescriptions after overdose

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Almost all patients who overdose on prescription opioids continue to receive prescriptions for them, new research shows. The retrospective cohort study involved more than 2,800 commercially insured patients aged 18–64 years who had a nonfatal opioid overdose during long-term opioid therapy for noncancer pain between 2000 and 2012.

Almost all patients who overdose on prescription opioids continue to receive prescriptions for them, new research shows. The retrospective cohort study involved more than 2,800 commercially insured patients aged 18–64 years who had a nonfatal opioid overdose during long-term opioid therapy for noncancer pain between 2000 and 2012. According to the data, 91% of patients received prescription opioids after an overdose. In addition, 7% of the patients had a second overdose. Two years after the first overdose, the cumulative incidence of repeated overdose was 17% for patients receiving high dosages of opioids following the first overdose and 8% for those receiving no opioids. An editorial accompanying the study suggests that many providers may not know when their patients overdose. "There are currently no widespread systems in place, either within health plans or through governmental organizations, for notifying providers when overdoses occur," writes Jessica Gregg, MD, of Central City Concern in Portland, OR. Gregg also notes that many providers receive little training and have few resources to address chronic pain or addiction.

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http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2479117

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