New research from Stirling University has identified possible major risk factors leading to overdose in patients taking prescription drugs.
Working in collaboration with NHS Fife, St Andrew’s University and Glasgow Caledonian University, the Stirling team studied GP practice data across the Fife region, examining more than 42,000 patients who were He had been prescribing opioids for the previous six months.
About a third of patients (14,079) had been prescribed a strong opioid — a range of pain-relief medications prescribed for acute pain, cancer, chronic pain, palliative care or to control addiction illicit drugs like heroin.
The research found the most common comorbidities (the presence of two or more diseases in the same person) and overdose Risk factors among those receiving a strong opioid were pain (67.2%), cardiovascular disease (43.3%), mental health problems (39.3%), and respiratory disease (25%). , 6%).
The number of patients living in the most disadvantaged areas was also significantly associated with the prescribed proportion of a strong opioid.
Joe Schofield, of Stirling University and project researcher, said: “We found that those at risk tended to be older, female and living in areas with high social deprivation.
“Practical interventions need to be explored to reduce the risk of overdose within this group and clinical practice it may need to be tightened to minimize the risk of overdose for people receiving strong opioids.
“We welcome NHS Fife ‘s commitment to patient safety demonstrated by funding this study as part of a broader quality improvement work, and we recommend that other health councils take a similar approach to reducing the risk of harm to people receiving opioids across Scotland. ” .
The study was funded by an NHS Fife research and development grant. Deborah Steven is the lead pharmacist for the treatment of pain in Fife and was a co-researcher on the project.
He said: “We know that opioids can be helpful for some people, but for others they can cause short- and long-term problems. These can include side effects, such as addiction; risk of overdose and, in some circumstances, worsening. of his pain.
“It is vital that this type of medication is used safely and effectively and this research has allowed us to better understand the current prescription of opioids in patients locally. In addition, the research also helps support individual medical practices. to their patients who are currently prescribing these medications, while reducing the risk of accidental harm in patients who benefit from taking opioid medications.
“In the longer term, research has provided us with a strong evidence-based basis for moving forward with broader proposals on the safety of pain medications here in Fife.”
The study is expected to have an impact on policy and practice, and researchers advise that risk could be reduced by implementing additional clinical governments, such as auditing local prescriptions to identify patients at risk and work with them to review pain control strategies and address potentially harmful combinations of prescription medication.
Scotland has one of the highest rates of opioids-Mortality related to overdose in Europe, and fatal overdose rates continue to rise. These overdoses occur primarily among illicit opioid users such as heroin, however, individuals who are prescribed opioids for clinical reasons may also be at risk for prescription overdose (POVER). Of the 1264 drug-related deaths in 2019, opioids were involved in 1,092 (86%), including prescriptive opioids such as methadone, buprenorphine, and codeine / dihydrocodeine.
The document “Quantifying the doses of opioids prescribed in the community and the risk of overdose” was published in the journal. BMC Public Health.
Joe Schofield et al, Quantification of community-prescribed high-dose opioids and risk of overdose, BMC Public Health (2021). DOI: 10.1186 / s12889-021-11162-4
University of Stirling
Citation: Opioid Research Finds Overdose Risk Factors (2021, June 28) Retrieved June 28, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-opioids-overdose-factors.html
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