Prescribing naloxone to opioid addicts may help reduce overdoses

Prescribing naloxone to opioid addicts may help reduce overdoses

Prescribing naloxone to opioid addicts may help reduce overdoses

Opioid addiction has ravaged many families in the United States and law enforcement agencies have been on a constant vigil to check the dependence on painkillers and heroin. As per a report titled “Opioid Painkiller Prescribing,” published online by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July 2014, prescription painkiller overdose kills nearly 46 people every day in America. Another 2016 report by the CDC said that drug overdoses have resulted in an increase in death rates by 137 percent since 2000, including 200 percent rise in deaths from opioid overdose.

Considering the high rate of opioid abuse, health care providers have been supporting the distribution of naloxone to victims of drug overdose. The use of naloxone to help restore breathing and prevent death in cases of opioid overdose is being pushed in communities other than medical fraternities.

Fewer ED visits on prescription of naloxone and opioids

In a recent study published online in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine in June 2016, a group of researchers aimed to find out the benefits of prescribing both naloxone and opioids to those seeking treatment for chronic pain.

The study, titled “Nonrandomized Intervention Study of Naloxone Coprescription for Primary Care Patients Receiving Long-Term Opioid Therapy for Pain,” observed opioid overdose patients at San Francisco clinics and followed them to see what happens when 38.2 percent of the 1,985 patients who received opioid prescriptions for pain treatment were also prescribed naloxone.

The scientists noted that those prescribed naloxone with opioids visited the emergency department (ED) lesser by 47 percent every month over the next six months, and at the end of one year, there were 63 percent less emergency visits, when contrasted with those who had not received naloxone.

It was observed that during the study period, only 12 percent patients were admitted to the emergency department for opioid overdose treatment. Thus, it showed that naloxone prescriptions made to 30 patients resulted in one averted emergency visit.

“The CDC now recommends offering naloxone to patients on long-term opioid therapy who are taking more than 50 morphine-equivalent milligrams daily, who have a history of overdose or substance-use disorder, or who are also taking medications such as benzodiazepines,” said the lead author of the study Dr. Phillip Coffin, director of substance use research in the Center for Public Health Research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Precisely, naloxone can be given even to those who are non-susceptible to opioid overdose to avert deaths or ED visits in instances of accidental overdose or unwilling medicine divergence.

Help is just a call away

According to a related study, titled “Orienting patients to greater opioid safety: models of community pharmacy-based naloxone,” published online in the Harm Reduction Journal in 2015, community-based programs are increasingly dispersing naloxone, apart from imparting response training to local people to help combat opioid overdose cases.

It is important to increase access to naloxone where there is high risk of opioid overdosing. For this, naloxone needs to be disbursed among local communities, apart from doctors in detoxification centers or rehabilitation facilities where patients tend to relapse. While naloxone has been used to treat opioid overdose patients over the past 45 years, the country needs to make use of services provided by pharmacies, addiction counselors and other professionals trained in detecting and handling cases of opioid overdoses.

If you or your loved one is addicted to opioids, it is necessary to seek instant help from one of the recognized prescription drug abuse treatment centers in America. The Prescription Drug Addiction Helpline can guide you to one of the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers that can help you get addiction-free. Chat online or call us at 866-623-3847 for the treatment options in your area.