With limited resources to treat and manage patients with opioid use disorders (OUDs), it is important to identify patient characteristics and treatment measures more likely to reduce overdoses and death. A NIDA funded study has identified certain process measures that are linked to lower mortality rates in people with opioid use disorders, and others that do not appear to affect mortality.
Scientists reviewed cases of more than 300 veterans in Arkansas. They identified seven measures most likely to affect a broad number of people with OUDs, including medicines prescribed for their OUD, continuous medication use and adherence (for at least three months), if they were also using or prescribed benzodiazepines or opioid pain relievers, quarterly physician visits, psychosocial treatment, Hepatitis B/C and HIV screening.
Results suggest that not being prescribed opioids or benzodiazepines, receipt of any psychosocial treatment and quarterly physician visits were significantly associated with lower mortality at both 12 and 24 months.
This study was conducted with Veterans Administration patients from the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare Center and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Authors note this is the first study to show an association between process measures and mortality in patients with OUDs and provides initial evidence for their use as quality measures.
- Watkins, K., et al. Association between process measures and mortality in individuals with opioid use disorders. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.