Methadone and buprenorphine are associated with lower mortality risk following nonfatal opioid overdose, but few patients are receiving maintenance treatment, a retrospective study in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds.
Researchers identified nearly 18,000 adults in Massachusetts who’d had at least one nonfatal opioid overdose from 2012 to 2014. In the 12 months after the overdose, 30% of people received any type of medication for opioid use disorder (OUD). Roughly 8% received methadone maintenance treatment, 13% received buprenorphine, 4% received naltrexone, and 5% received more than one type.
Mortality was significantly higher among people who didn’t receive any medication for OUD (4.9%), compared with those who received methadone (2.5%) or buprenorphine (3%). There was no significant reduction associated with naltrexone, but the authors note that the naltrexone group had fewer events.
The findings identify major deficiencies in … treatment, including underuse of [medication-assisted treatment] and a fracture in the engagement of health care on how to manage OUD. Stigma is a root reason for both.