Frequent ER Visits Linked To Prescription Drug Overdose Interview with:
Joanne Brady, PhD candidate
Department of Anesthesiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University, New York, NY

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prescription drug overdose is a major public health problem in the United States. Prescription drug overdose mortality has increased dramatically over the past twenty five years. Frequent emergency department utilization may be a marker for risk of prescription drug overdose death. The current study assessed how frequency of emergency department visits in the past year related to risk of subsequent prescription drug overdose death. In a cohort of patients visiting the emergency department, patients with four or more visits to the emergency department in the past year were at substantially higher risk for prescription drug overdose death than patients who visited the emergency department one or fewer times. As the number of visits to the emergency department increased from 0 – 1 to 4 or more for any reason the risk of dying from prescription drug overdose also increased.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Frequency of emergency department visits may be a means for identifying patients at heightened risk of prescription drug overdose. These visits are a clinical point of contact for providing preventative interventions, such as providing patients and their families with take-home naloxone, referral to drug treatment or other supportive services.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future studies should focus on identifying other health encounter patterns and alternative approaches to aid vulnerable individuals who do not utilize emergency services.


Emergency department utilization and subsequent prescription drug overdose death

Brady JE1, DiMaggio CJ2, Keyes KM3, Doyle JJ4, Richardson LD5, Li G6.

Ann Epidemiol. 2015 Apr 2. pii: S1047-2797(15)00128-3. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2015.03.018. [Epub ahead of print]

[wysija_form id=”3″] Interview with: Joanne Brady, PhD candidate (2015). Frequent ER Visits Linked To Prescription Drug Overdose 

Last Updated on November 4, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD