Most Patients Who Survive Overdose Do Not Receive FDA Approved Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Interview with:

Marc R. Larochelle, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine Boston University School of Medicine Boston MA

Dr. Larochelle

Marc R. Larochelle, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston MD What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In this study we examined more than 17,000 individuals who survived an opioid overdose in Massachusetts between 2012 and 2014.

We were interested in identifying how many went on to receive one of the three FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), and whether or not they were associated with mortality.

We found that only 3 in 10 received MOUD and that receipt of buprenorphine and methadone were associated with 40-60% reduction in all-cause and opioid-related mortality.

We found no association between naltrexone and mortality though the confidence of this conclusion is limited by the small number who received naltrexone in this cohort. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: We can and must do better in engaging individuals with opioid use disorder with proven treatments. This means reforming our policies and care delivery system to improve access in patient-centered ways. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We need to understand the best ways to engage individuals in treatment following nonfatal overdose. Potential solutions include initiating treatment in emergency room and inpatient settings and use of navigators or peer supports to deliver harm reduction services and longitudinal engagement for those who are not interested in engaging in treatment at the time of their overdose. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Larochelle MR, Bernson D, Land T, Stopka TJ, Wang N, Xuan Z, et al. Medication for Opioid Use Disorder After Nonfatal Opioid Overdose and Association With Mortality: A Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 19 June 2018] doi: 10.7326/M17-3107

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on June 19, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD