No Enhance in Overdose Deaths With Purchase-residence Methadone

The different of overdose deaths animated methadone decreased after the implementation of an early-pandemic policy that allowed some sufferers with opioid use dysfunction (OUD) to take methadone at residence, new examine displays.

Overdose deaths every with and without methadone rose sharply in March 2020, when the policy change into as soon as introduced. Of show, methadone-connected deaths decreased within the next months, whereas deaths not animated methadone continued to originate greater.

“Coupled with examine demonstrating improved affected person delight, medication access, and engagement from these policies, these findings can tell decisions about completely increasing take-residence methadone,” the investigators write.

The explore change into as soon as published online July 13 within the JAMA Psychiatry.

An Obligatory Tool

Earlier than the pandemic, sufferers looking out for methadone medication for OUD within the United States had to discuss over with a federally certified opioid medication sanatorium each day to receive the medication.

In holding with the pandemic, the Substance Abuse and Psychological Effectively being Products and services Administration instituted a brand new policy that allowed states to demand exceptions to give take-residence methadone for as a lot as 4 weeks for stable sufferers and as a lot as 2 weeks for these that had been much less stable.

To search out out the attain of this policy trade on overdose death charges, researchers analyzed data on overdose deaths from January 2019 to August 2021.

General, the percentage of deaths animated methadone decreased from 4.5% in 2019 to three.2% in 2021.

The investigators came at some stage in a keen originate greater in all overdose deaths in March 2020. Deaths that did not involve methadone increased by an common of 78.12 extra every month before March 2020, increased by an common of 1078.27 at some stage in March 2020, and then continued to originate greater by an common of 69.07 extra every month after March 2020.

Overdose deaths animated methadone increased by a an analogous amount in March 2020, stabilized, and then decreased 0.05% monthly.

Researchers attributed the originate greater in methadone-connected deaths in March 2020 with the upward thrust in in overall drug overdose deaths pushed by illicitly made fentanyl within the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As previously reported by Medscape Scientific News, a explore published earlier this year showed that methadone and diversified medicines to treat OUD are widely underutilized.

That examine cited downside over misuse as a key reason for clinicians’ reluctance to prescribe the medication. The researchers of the brand new explore hope that these new findings lay these form of fears to leisure.

“Treatment is an mandatory instrument to conclude the dependancy and overdose crises, however it’s a long way vastly underused,” Nora Volkow, MD, co-investigator, and director of the Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse, stated in an announcement. “This proof adds essential weight to the argument that efficient medication for substance use disorders ought to be offered in an accessible and purposeful manner that works for these that want it.”

The explore change into as soon as funded by the Centers for Disease Spend an eye on and Prevention and the Nationwide Institutes of Effectively being. The authors reported no relevant disclosures connected to the explore.

JAMA Psychiatry. Printed online July 13, 2022. Abstract

Kelli Whitlock Burton is a reporter for Medscape Scientific News who covers psychiatry and neurology.

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