More than 115 Americans die every day of opioid overdose. Many more who overdose survive due to the antidote medication naloxone. But a study out Monday finds that just 3 in 10 patients revived by an EMT or in an emergency room received the follow-up medication known to avoid another life-threatening event.
The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, followed 17,568 patients who overdosed on opioids from 2012 to 2014 in Massachusetts. It looked at survival rates over time and whether patients received medicines that treat addiction.
Of the patients who did receive medication, 3,022 adults were on buprenorphine, known by the brand name Suboxone, and 2,040 patients were on methadone. The Suboxone group had a 40 percent lower death rate after one year, compared with those who did not receive any medication. The results for methadone were even stronger: a 60 percent lower death rate.
About 6 percent of patients were on the opioid blocker naltrexone (brand name Vivitrol), but often for just one month. They were no more likely to be alive after a year than those who were not offered or did not take a medication.