Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Fatal Opioid Overdoses Down Dramatically since 2010

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Fatal Opioid Overdoses Down Dramatically since 2010

Article excerpt

FROM JAMA INTERNAL MEDICINE

Two changes in the pharmaceutical market in late 2010 dramatically reversed the alarming rise in fatal opioid overdoses that occurred during the preceding decade, according to a report published online April 20 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Overdose deaths attributed to prescription opioids quadrupled in the United States between 1999 and 2010, in parallel with rapidly expanding sales of the drugs.

Two changes in the pharmaceutical market were undertaken to address these unrelenting increases: replacing the standard formulation of OxyContin with an abuse-deterrent formulation (resistant to crushing and dissolving the tablets for ingestion, snorting, or injection) and withdrawing propoxyphene from sale, wrote Dr. Marc R. Larochelle of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and the department of population medicine, Harvard, both in Boston, and his associates.

To assess the impact of these interventions, the investigators examined hospitalizations for prescription opioids as well as dispensing patterns using an insurance database covering adults in all 50 states. The data comprised 31,316,598 patients aged 18-64 who were enrolled in a commercial health plan between 2003 and 2012. …

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