Dramatic Rise in Benzodiazepine/ Z-Drugs and Opioid Co-Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, MHSc, MD, FRCPC Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine St. Michael’s Hospital, 30 Bond Street Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Vozoris

Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, MHSc, MD, FRCPC
Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine
St. Michael’s Hospital, 30 Bond Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: While there has been a lot of attention and research devoted to understanding trends in opioid use in North America, there has been relatively less attention paid to a more concerning drug use pattern, combination of benzodiazepines and opioids. Co-use of benzodiazepines and opioids is associated with a many more-fold risk of hospitalization and death than opioid use alone. Another concerning drug use pattern that has received little attention is combinations of benzodiazepines and Z-drugs. Z-drugs act similarly as benzodiazepine drugs, and when one is receiving both drug types, one is exposing oneself to excessive benzodiazepine receipt.

The purpose of my study was to characterize the trends in benzodiazepine and opioid co-use, and benzodiazepine and Z-drug co-use, in the United States over the past two decades, and to identify risk factors for receipt of these suboptimal drug use patterns.

The main findings were that there has been a dramatic rise in both benzodiazepine and opioid co-use, and benzodiazepine and Z-drug co-use, in the United States between 1999 and 2014. Benzodiazepine and opioid co-use increased by about 250% and benzodiazepine and Z-drug use increased by about 850%. Individuals with mental health disorders was one group at increased risk for getting a combination of benzodiazepines and opioids and morbidly obese individuals were at risk for being prescribed both a benzodiazepine and a Z-drug. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: I hope readers of my study come away with a greater awareness of the potential concerns and problems that can arise with combining benzodiazepines and opioids, and benzodiazepines and Z-drugs. I hope prescribers become more reflective of their prescribing practices relating to such drugs as benzodiazepines, Z-drugs and opioids, and prescribe these agents with more judiciousness. In particular, I think there is a lot on confusion and lack of knowledge around the Z-drugs, that is, what drug group do they belong to and how do they act. Even though they go by the name Z-drugs, they act in the same way as benzodiazepines do, and so in effect, they can be considered as benzodiazepine-equivalents. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Although this can be challenging to get at, understanding the ‘why’ behind these rising concerning drug use patterns is important. Why are doctors prescribing, and why are patients receiving, in increasing numbers these concerning drug combinations? Having this knowledge would help us potentially reverse the trends of rising benzodiazepine and opioid co-use, and benzodiazepine and Z-drug co-use, and also potentially help prevent future ‘drug crises’. In September 2017, the US Food & Drug Administration issued that a safety warning be printed on all opioid and benzodiazepine drug labels, warning about the dangerous of combination use. In would be interesting to know if the frequency of combined benzodiazepines and opioids decreased as a result. Unfortunately, my study included only data up to 2014, so it was unable to ascertain an answer to this question.

No disclosures

Citation:

Nicholas T Vozoris; Benzodiazepineand Opioid Co-Usage in the United States Population, 1999–2014: An Exploratory Analysis, Sleep, , zsy264, https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsy264

Jan 21, 2019 @ 3:42 am 

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

Urine Tests Useful in Primary Care Monitoring of Opioid and Cocaine Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sarah M. Bagley MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics Director, CATALYST Clinic Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center Boston, MA

Dr. Bagley

Sarah M. Bagley MD, MSc
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics
Director, CATALYST Clinic
Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center
Boston, MA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Urine drug testing is a routine part of the management of primary care patients with opioid use disorder treated with medications such as buprenorphine. In addition, most providers also ask patients about recent drug use.

The point of this study was to see the agreement between the urine drug testing and what patients told a nurse and whether that changed the longer a patient was in treatment. We found that truthful disclosure of opioid and cocaine use increased with time in treatment and that urine drug tests are a useful tool to monitor patients. 

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Preventing Opioid Relapse: Cost-Effectiveness of Buprenorphine–Naloxone vs Extended-Release Naltrexone

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sean M. Murphy, PhD Associate Professor of Research Director, CHERISH Consultation Service  Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Healthcare Policy & Research New York, NY 10065-8722

Dr. Murphy

Sean M. Murphy, PhD
Associate Professor of Research
Director, CHERISH Consultation Service
Weill Cornell Medicine
Department of Healthcare Policy & Research
New York, NY 10065-8722

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: A recent eight-site US randomized effectiveness trial compared buprenorphine-naloxone to extended-release naltrexone to prevent opioid-use relapse. Participants were recruited from inpatient detoxification or short-term residential treatment programs.

Current treatment protocols require persons initiating extended-release naltrexone, but not buprenorphine-naloxone, be fully detoxified from opioids. Both medications were effective at treating opioid use disorder with regard to time abstinent from opioid use and health-related quality-of-life; however, the higher cost of extended-release naltrexone and additional costs associated with detoxification prior to administering this medication, resulted in buprenorphine-naloxone being the better value to the healthcare sector, among patients who require detoxification before initiating extended-release naltrexone.

The economic value of extended-release naltrexone, compared to buprenorphine-naloxone, became more attractive after accounting for additional costs to society (participant time and travel, criminal activity, workforce productivity), and among persons who were successfully initiated on treatment. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Because the economic value of extended-release naltrexone compared to buprenorphine-naloxone increased among persons who were successfully initiated on treatment, identifying persons who are most likely to achieve superior outcomes on extended-release naltrexone in advance would be a preferred to offering this medication to everyone. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Narrowing the cost gap by identifying the best possible patients for each medication, lowering the cost of extended-release naltrexone, and shortening or eliminating the induction period could improve its relative economic value, thereby increasing its attractiveness to payers and allowing more people to access either alternative according to their clinical needs and preferences.

Thus, I would really like to see additional research on treatment models that could achieve these objectives. I am also eager to see comparative effectiveness and economic evaluations of extended-release naltrexone compared to extended-release buprenorphine products. 

Citation:

Murphy SM, McCollister KE, Leff JA, Yang X, Jeng PJ, Lee JD, et al. Cost-Effectiveness of Buprenorphine–Naloxone Versus Extended-Release Naltrexone to Prevent Opioid Relapse. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print ] doi: 10.7326/M18-0227

Dec 18, 2018 @ 12:50 am

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

Marked Increase in Infected Heart Valves Due to Injected Opioids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Asher Schranz, MD Division of Infectious Disease Department of Medicine UNC School of Medicine

Dr. Schranz

Asher Schranz, MD
Division of Infectious Disease
Department of Medicine
UNC School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The opioid crisis has led to several major infectious diseases concerns, including HIV and Hepatitis C.

Drug use-associated infective endocarditis (DUA-IE) is a less commonly discussed consequence of the opioid epidemic. DUA-IE is an infection of one or more heart valves that occurs from injecting drugs. It can be a severe, life-threatening infection and requires a long course of intravenous antibiotics as well as, in some cases, open heart surgery to replace an infected heart valve. Several studies over the past few years have shown that DUA-IE has been increasing.

Our study examined hospital discharges in North Carolina statewide from 2007 to 2017. We sought to update trends in DUA-IE and describe how much heart valve surgery was being performed for DUA-IE. We also aimed to report the demographics of persons who are undergoing heart valve surgery for DUA-IE and the charges, lengths of stay and outcomes of these hospitalizations.  Continue reading

Wisdom Teeth Extractions Can Lead to Opioid Addiction in Adolescents and Young Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alan Schroeder MD Associate chief for research Division of pediatric hospital medicine Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

Dr. Schroeder

Alan Schroeder MD
Associate Chief for Research
Division of pediatric hospital medicine
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Third molar “wisdom teeth” extractions are one of the most common surgeries performed in adolescents and young adults, but an adequate appraisal of risks and benefits is lacking. Most patients who undergo this procedure are exposed to opioids post-operatively.

We demonstrate that, for privately-insured opioid-naïve patients 16-25 years of age, exposure to opioids from a dental provider is associated with persistent use at 90-365 days in 7% of patients and a subsequent diagnosis relating to abuse in 6% of patients. In contrast persistent use and abuse were significantly lower in control patients not exposed to dental opioids (0.1% and 0.4%, respectively). The median number of pills dispensed for the initial prescriptions was 20.

Continue reading

Amphetamine Use Even Higher than Opioids Among Rural Pregnant Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lindsay Admon, MD MSc Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation  University of Michigan

Dr. Admon

Lindsay Admon, MD MSc
Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

In our previous work (https://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2017/12000/Disparities_in_Chronic_Conditions_Among_Women.19.aspx), we identified higher rates of deliveries complicated by substance use among rural women. We knew that some of this difference would be accounted for by opioids.What we didn’t expect was that when we took a closer look, amphetamine use disorder accounted for a significant portion of this disparity as well.

The main findings of this study are that, between 2008-09 and 2014-15, amphetamine and opioid use among delivering women increased disproportionately across rural compared to urban counties in three of four census regions. By 2014-15, amphetamine use disorder was identified among approximately 1% of all deliveries in the rural western United States, which was higher than the incidence of opioid use in most regions.

Compared to opioid-related deliveries, amphetamine-related deliveries were associated with higher incidence of the majority of adverse gestational outcomes that we examined including pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery, and severe maternal morbidity and mortality.   Continue reading

More Pharmacies Willing To Dispense Naloxone Without Prescription

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kirk Evoy, PharmD, BCACP, BC-ADM, CTTS
"Wolf Administration Holds a Press Conference Expanding Access to Naloxone" by Governor Tom Wolf is licensed under CC BY 2.0Clinical Assistant Professor
 College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin
Adjoint Assistant Professor
 School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Ambulatory Care Pharmacist
 Southeast Clinic, University Health System
 UT Health Science Center at San Antonio
Pharmacotherapy Education and Research Center
San Antonio, TX 78229 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Previous studies in Indiana and New York City, and the similar study in California published alongside ours identified that, despite the fact that laws designed to increase naloxone access had been in place for 2-3 years, patients were still not able to obtain naloxone without first seeing a doctor in many pharmacies.

Our study showed contrasting results to the previous studies, with a much higher proportion of pharmacies stocking naloxone and stating their willingness to dispense without an outside prescription. Among the 2,317 Texas chain community pharmacies we contacted, 83.7% correctly informed our interviewers that they could obtain naloxone without having to get a prescription from their doctor before coming to the pharmacy.  We also found that 76.4% of the pharmacies had at least one type of naloxone currently in stock. Continue reading

Not All Pharmacies Have Naloxone for Opioid Overdose in Stock

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Talia Puzantian,  PharmD, BCPP Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences,  School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Keck Graduate Institute 

Dr. Puzantian

Talia Puzantian,  PharmD, BCPP
Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences,
School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Keck Graduate Institute  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Naloxone has been used in hospitals and emergency rooms since the early 1970s. Distribution to laypersons began in the mid-1990s with harm reduction programs such as clean needle exchange programs providing it, along with education, to mostly heroin users. In the years between 1996-2014, 152,000 naloxone kits were distributed in this way with more than 26,000 overdoses reversed (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6423a2.htm).

We have data showing that counties in which there was greater naloxone distribution among laypeople, there were lower opioid death rates (Walley AY et al BMJ 2013). However, not all opioid users at risk for overdose will interface with harm reduction programs, particularly prescription opioid users, hence more recent efforts to increase access to laypersons through pharmacists. Naloxone access laws have been enacted in all 50 states but very little has been published about how they’ve been adopted by pharmacists thus far. One small study (264 pharmacies) from Indiana (Meyerson BE et al Drug Alcohol Depend 2018) showed that 58.1% of pharmacies stocked naloxone, only 23.6% provided it without prescription, and that large chain pharmacies were more likely to do so.

Continue reading

US Tops Opioids Deaths Among 13 High Income Countries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Drug Addiction" by Joana Faria is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0Yingxi (Cimo) Chen, MD, MPH, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Radiation Epidemiology Branch, DCEG, NCI, NIH
Rockville MD 20850 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Death rates from drug overdose have more than doubled in the US in the 21st century. Similar increases in drug overdose deaths have been reported in other high-income countries but few studies have compared rates across countries.  Continue reading

Most Surgical Patients Only Use About 25% Of Their Prescribed Opioids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Trump: 'The opioid crisis is an emergency'" by Marco Verch is licensed under CC BY 2.0Joceline Vu, MD

Resident, PGY-5
Department of Surgery
University of Michigan 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: This study examined how much opioid patients use after surgery, and looked at factors that might predispose some patients to use more or less.

Patient opioid use after surgery is an interesting question that’s gained a lot of attention recently, because it’s different from other uses for opioids. If you have chronic pain, you’re probably going to use all of your prescription. But if you have surgery, you may not take all of your pills, and this leaves people with leftover pills that can be dangerous later.

From this study, we found that patients only use, on average, about quarter of their prescription, meaning that a lot of them are left with leftover pills. Moreover, we found that the biggest determinant of how much they used wasn’t how much pain they reported, or any other factor—it was how big their original prescription was.

What this means is that opioid use after surgery isn’t just determined by pain, but also by what surgeons prescribe. It’s important to keep this in mind as we try to reduce unnecessary opioid prescribing after surgical procedures.  Continue reading

States Vary in Parental Opioid Use and Child Removal Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Troy Quast, PhD Associate Professor in the University South Florida College of Public Health

Dr. Quast

Troy Quast, PhD
Associate Professor in the University
South Florida College of Public Healt

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: One of the cited repercussions of the opioid epidemic is its effect on families. However, there is considerable variation in opioid misuse across the county. This is the first nation-wide study to investigate the relationship between opioid prescription rates and child removals at the state level.

I found that there are significant differences across states in the relationship between opioid prescription and child removal rates associated with parental substance abuse. In twenty-three states, increases in opioid prescription rates were associated with increases in the child removal rate. For instance, in California a 10% increase in the county average prescription rate was associated with a 28% increase in the child removal rate. By contrast, in fifteen states the association was flipped, where increases in the opioid prescription rate were associated with decreases in the child removal rate. There was no statistically significant relationship in the remaining states.  Continue reading

Patient Expect Opioids for Pain Control after Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Surgery" by Army Medicine is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Nirmal B. Shah
Anesthesia Resident PGY-IV (CA-III)
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: With the ongoing opioid epidemic, we believe it is important to understand patients’ perceptions of pain medications and pain control after surgery. We believe patients’ expectations and perceptions regarding perioperative pain medications has not been well understood. We were hoping to understand patients’ knowledge, concerns, and biases of pain medication along with information to optimize acute pain management.

The goal of this survey study was to understand patient expectations regarding pain medications including opioids and non- opioids.  In the United States, over 100 million surgical procedures are performed every year. Nearly 80% of these patients will experience post-operative pain. Adequate treatment of post-operative pain has been shown to improve clinical and economic outcomes, thus there has been an increased effort towards improving post-operative pain control.

Through our research, we demonstrated that patients expect to experience postoperative pain after a surgical procedure and expect to be prescribed a pain medication. Patients believe that opioid medications will be most effective in treating postoperative pain compared to non-opioid medications, which could be contributing to the opioid epidemic.

503 patients presenting for elective surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA were sampled during this survey. 76% of patients expected to be prescribed an opioid pain medication at discharge, 47% of patients expected to be prescribed acetaminophen (Tylenol) pain medication at discharge, while 30% of patients expected to be prescribed an NSAID (Motrin) pain medication at discharge. 94% of patients expecting to receive an opioid pain medication believe it would be effective in controlling their post-operative pain. This difference was not observed in patients expecting prescriptions for non-opioid pain medications. Overall, patients expect to experience pain after surgery and be prescribed analgesics they perceived to be most effective, opioids. Continue reading

The US Opioid Crisis is Expanding and Worse Among Young People

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joshua Barocas, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Section of Infectious Diseases Boston Medical Center / Boston University School of Medicine Joshua Barocas, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Section of Infectious Diseases
Boston Medical Center / Boston University School of Medicine 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Massachusetts has been particularly hard hit by the opioid epidemic despite lower opioid prescribing rates, near universal health insurance, and availability of opioid treatment. That said, it is difficult to estimate the population with or at-risk for opioid use disorder. It is generally a highly stigmatized disease and typical methods to estimate of opioid use disorder relay on contact with the healthcare system and/or patient reporting.

We used a unique and powerful methodology coupled with a first-in-the-nation linked database in Massachusetts to obtain both an accurate count of people with opioid use disorder who are known to the healthcare system and estimate the number who are out there but not yet known to the system.

We found that more than 275,000 people – or 4.6 percent of people over the age of 11 in Massachusetts– have opioid use disorder, a figure nearly four times higher than previous estimates based on national data. In 2011 and 2012, the prevalence of opioid use disorder in Massachusetts for those over the age of 11 was 2.72 percent and 2.87 percent, respectively. That increased to 3.87 percent in 2013, and even more, to 4.6 percent in 2015. Those between the ages of 11 and 25 experienced the greatest increase in prevalence of all age groups. The number of “known” persons increased throughout the study period – from 63,989 in 2011 to 75,431 in 2012, and 93,878 in 2013 to 119,160 in 2015.  Continue reading

Fentanyl Strips Can Prevent Opioid Overdoses

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"150826-fentanyl-factory-underground-illicit.jpg" by r. nial bradshaw is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Jon Zibbell, PhD,
Senior public health scientist
Behavioral Health Research Division
RTI International
Research Triangle Park, NC, 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: For the first time in 2016, U.S. overdose deaths involving illicitly-manufactured fentanyl surpassed deaths from heroin and prescription deaths.

Fentanyl is an extremely potent synthetic opioid, and an illicitly-manufactured form of the drug is regularly being mixed with heroin and often sold to unwitting consumers. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and its illicitly-manufactured version is extremely difficult to discern when mixed with heroin. Harm reduction organizations have started to distribute FTS and people consuming street-purchased opioids are using them to test drugs for fentanyl. Our objective was to assess whether this point-of-use form of drug checking was influencing people’s drug use behavior. The study was self-funded by the research institute RTI International.

Our findings show that consumers who tested street opioids with fentanyl test strips were five times more likely to engage in safer drug use behavior when the test comes back positive. The study was conducted among a group of 125 people who inject drugs in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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Who Is Most Vulnerable To Opioid Prescription Use?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology University at Buffalo, SUNY

Dr. GROL-PROKOPCZYK

Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
University at Buffalo, SUNY

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Studies examining predictors of prescription opioid use often have limited information about users’ socioeconomic status, their level of pain, and their opinions of opioids.  Using unique data from the Health and Retirement Study’s 2005-2006 Prescription Drug Study—which includes information about older adults’ education, income, wealth, insurance type, pain level, and opinions of prescription drugs used—I was able to explore how socioeconomic factors shaped prescription opioid use in the 2000s, when U.S. opioid use was at its peak.  I was also able to present a snapshot of how users of prescription opioids felt about these drugs before the declaration of an opioid epidemic.

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Adolescents Face Large Addiction-Treatment Gap

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Scott E. Hadland, MD, MPH, MS Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Boston Medical Center / Boston University School of Medicine

Dr. Hadland

Scott E. Hadland, MD, MPH, MS
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Boston Medical Center / Boston University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Amidst a worsening overdose epidemic in the United States, adolescents and young adults have not been spared. Although evidence-based medications like buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone are recommended for adolescents and young adults, the extent to which youth receive these medications — and whether these medications help retain youth in addiction treatment — isn’t yet known.

Continue reading

Opioid Prescriptions Drop After 2016 CDC Guidelines Released

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gery P. Guy Jr., PhD, MPH Senior Health Economist Division of Unintentional Injury CDC

Dr. Gery Guy

Gery P. Guy Jr., PhD, MPH
Senior Health Economist
Division of Unintentional Injury
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In response to the increasing harms and adverse outcomes from prescription opioids, the CDC released the Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain in March 2016. The CDC Guideline recommends evidence-based practices for opioid use for patients age 18 years and older in primary care settings in treating chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.

This report analyzed the temporal changes in opioid prescribing following the release of the CDC Guideline.

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Illicit Drug Use Spikes During Special Events

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bikram Subedi, PhD Assistant Professor of Analytical Chemistry Murray State University, Murray KYBikram Subedi, PhD

Assistant Professor of Analytical Chemistry
Murray State University, Murray KY

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The USA is one of the major consumers of diverse neuropsychiatric and illegal drugs, and recently declared a national public health emergency on opioid abuse. Law enforcement typically utilized conventional methods of determining drug consumption rate which are based on survey questionnaire, hospital admissions, drug-related crime statistics, and self-reported information. Conventional methods typically underestimate the actual consumption rate of drugs.

Our new approach of determining consumption rates of drugs in community is time and cost effecting and comprehensive. Based on levels of drugs quantified from raw sewage, the per capita consumption rates of several illicit drugs including methamphetamine, amphetamine, cocaine, and THC in two communities of Western Kentucky (similar population and only ~50 miles apart) were significantly different. During special events such as July 4th and 2017 solar eclipse, the consumption rates were found even higher. The consumption rate of methamphetamine was among one of the highest ever reported in the country.  Continue reading

Pregabalin Linked To Increased Risk for Opioid-Related Deaths

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tara Gomes, MHSc Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael’s Hospital, The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy Department of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Tara Gomes

Tara Gomes, MHSc
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael’s Hospital,
The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
Department of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Pregabalin is a medication increasingly being prescribed to manage pain, however there is emerging evidence that this drug may increase one’s risk of opioid overdose when prescribed with opioids.

Continue reading

Wisdom Tooth Extraction Can Lead To Persistent Opioid Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Calista Harbaugh, MD House Officer, General Surgery Clinician Scholar, National Clinician Scholars Program Research Fellow, Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network University of Michigan 

Dr. Harbaugh

Calista Harbaugh, MD
House Officer, General Surgery
Clinician Scholar, National Clinician Scholars Program
Research Fellow, Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network
University of Michigan 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Wisdom tooth extraction is one of the most common procedures among teens and young adults, with more than 3.5 million young people having wisdom teeth pulled every year.

This procedure is commonly paired with a prescription for opioid pain medication. As the opioid epidemic sweeps the nation, we must pay attention to the long term effects of opioid prescribing for even routine procedures. This is particularly important for wisdom tooth extraction where there is evidence that opioid pain medications may be no more effective than anti-inflammatories alone.

Using commercial insurance claims, we evaluated the association between receiving an opioid prescription with wisdom tooth extraction and developing new persistent opioid use in the year after the procedure. We found nearly a 3-fold increase in odds of persistent opioid use, attributable to whether or not an opioid was prescribed. This translates to nearly 50,000 young people developing new persistent opioid use each year from routine opioid prescribing for wisdom tooth extraction.

Continue reading

LUCEMYRA (Lofexidine) Now Available to Reduce Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mark Pirner, MD, PhD Senior Medical Director Clinical Research and Medical Affairs US WorldMeds

Dr. Mark Pirner

Mark Pirner, MD, PhD
Senior Medical Director
Clinical Research and Medical Affairs
US WorldMeds

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this announcement? How does lofexidine differ from other opioid withdrawal medications?

Response: LUCEMYRA™ (lofexidine) was FDA-approved on May 16 as the first and only non-opioid, non-addictive medication for the management of opioid withdrawal in adults.
LUCEMYRA mitigates the acute and painful symptoms of opioid withdrawal by suppressing the neurochemical surge in the brain that occurs when opioids are abruptly discontinued.

In clinical studies, patients receiving treatment with LUCEMYRA experienced greater symptom relief and were significantly more likely to complete their withdrawal. LUCEMYRA is not an opioid drug and is not a treatment for opioid use disorder; it should be used as part of a longer-term treatment plan.

Continue reading

Opioid Prescription Rates Higher in South, Appalachia and Rural West

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Lyndsey Rolheiser MD Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard Center for Population Studies Cambridge, Massachusetts

Dr. Rolheiser

Dr. Lyndsey Rolheiser PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard Center for Population Studies
Cambridge, Massachusetts

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The opioid crisis was declared a “public health emergency” in 2017. Opioid related overdoses and prescribing rates have increased dramatically over the past decade and previous literature has identified a relationship between high-dose prescriptions and overdose deaths. Thus, understanding the variation and trends in the opioid prescribing rate is crucial in understanding the nature of the opioid epidemic. Opioid prescribing data is publicly available at the county and state level.

County level data represents an administrative boundary that lacks political representation and accountability. In contrast, the congressional district represents a geography that has both of these characteristics. Further, knowing the congressional district level rates allows for policy makers and researchers to observe the variation that exists within states.

The main findings are high prescribing rate districts are concentrated in the South, Appalachia and the rural West. Low-rate districts are concentrated in urban centers.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: There is a great deal of variation across congressional districts, but there are also very clear geographical patterns. In terms of policy, this paper highlights the importance of constructing and disseminating crucial public health data at a politically relevant boundary.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Our hope is that the estimates we have created can be used within health related public policy research.

Citation: Lyndsey A. Rolheiser, Jack Cordes, BSPH, S.V. Subramanian. Opioid Prescribing Rates by Congressional Districts, United States, 2016. American Journal of Public Health, 2018; e1 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304532

Jul 22, 2018 @ 11:46 am

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

Criminal Justice System Involvement High Among Those With Opioid Use Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tyler Winkelman MD, MSc   Clinician-Investigator Division of General Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare Center for Patient and Provider Experience, Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute Assistant Professor Departments of Medicine & Pediatrics University of Minnesota

Dr. Winkelman

Tyler Winkelman MD, MSc 
Clinician-Investigator
Division of General Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare
Center for Patient and Provider Experience, Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute
Assistant Professor
Departments of Medicine & Pediatrics
University of Minnesota

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Opioid overdose deaths continue to escalate, and there have been reports that jails and prisons are bearing the brunt of the opioid epidemic. However, it wasn’t known, nationally, how many people who use opioids were involved in the criminal justice system. We also didn’t have recent estimates of common physical and mental health conditions among people with different levels of opioid use.

We used two years of national survey data to understand these associations, which are critical in developing a public health response to the opioid epidemic.

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Surgery For Spondylolisthesis (Spinal Stress Fractures) Reduced Chances of Opioid Dependence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Beatrice Ugiliweneza, PhD, MSPH Assistant Professor Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine Department of Health Management and Systems Science School of Public Health and Information Sciences University of Louisville

Dr. Ugiliweneza

Beatrice Ugiliweneza, PhD, MSPH
Assistant Professor
Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center
Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine
Department of Health Management and Systems Science
School of Public Health and Information Sciences
University of Louisville

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study stems from the observed opioid crisis in the United States in recent years. Opioids are used in the management of pain. In the spine population, back pain is one of the main conditions for which opioids are consumed.

A frequent cause of that pain is degenerative spondylolisthesis. We aimed to evaluate the effect of surgery, which has been shown to improve outcomes, on opioid dependence. We found that surgery is associated with reduced odds of opioid dependence.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: One interesting finding that we observed is that patients are twice less likely to become opioid dependent than they are to become dependent after surgery. However, an important note to keep in mind is that about 10% of patients will be opioid dependent after surgery (about 6% prior non-dependent and 4% prior dependent).  

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Surgery has been proven to improve clinical outcomes and quality of life for patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis. Future research should explore why some patients remain or become opioid dependent after surgery.

It would also be interesting to look at the effect of other treatments for degenerative spondylolisthesis (such as epidural steroid injections for example) on opioid dependence.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Spine surgeons should have systems that help them recognize patients who are likely to become opioid dependent after surgery. Our paper discusses factors to watch for such as younger age, prior dependence, etc… This would help provide targeted attention and hopefully combat the ramping opioid crisis.

The authors have no disclosures. 

Citation:

Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Posted online on June 19, 2018.
Factors predicting opioid dependence in patients undergoing surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis: analysis from the MarketScan databases
Mayur Sharma, MD, MCh, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, PhD, MSPH1, Zaid Aljuboori, MD1, Miriam A.Nuño, PhD2, Doniel Drazin, MD3, and  Maxwell Boakye, MD, MPH, MBA1

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

Potentially 70,000 Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths Undercounted

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeanine M. Buchanich, Ph.D. Research associate  Professor in the University of Pittsburgh Graduate  School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics

Dr. Buchanich

Jeanine M. Buchanich, Ph.D.
Research associate
Professor in the University of Pittsburgh Graduate
School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In the U.S., cause of death codes are assigned by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) using information reported by the coroner or medical examiner completing the death certificate. Drug-specific overdose deaths are identified by the contributory causes of death, which are categorized as “T codes” and are assigned based on the specific drugs recorded by the coroner or medical examiner completing the death certificate. A code of T50.9 means “other and unspecified drugs, medicaments and biological substances.”

My colleagues and I extracted death data by state for 1999 through 2015 from the NCHS’s Mortality Multiple Cause Micro-data Files. We grouped overdose deaths into opioid-related, non-opioid-related and unspecified codes. In five states – Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi and Pennsylvania – more than 35 percent of the overdose deaths were coded as unspecified.

We then calculated the change in percentage of overdose deaths that fell into each category from 1999 to 2015 by state. In those 17 years, opioid-related overdose deaths rose 401 percent, non-opioid-related overdose deaths rose 150 percent and unspecified overdose deaths rose 220 percent.

This allowed us to extrapolate how many of the unspecified overdose deaths were likely opioid-related. By our calculations, potentially 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths were not included in national opioid-related mortality estimates since 1999 because coroners and medical examiners did not specify the drug that contributed to the cause of death when completing the death certificates.  Continue reading