Opioids involved in most medical overdose deaths

Opioids involved in most medical overdose deaths
Opioid analgesics are involved in the majority of pharmaceutical-related overdose deaths, frequently involving drugs prescribed for mental health conditions, according to a research letter published in the Feb. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

(HealthDay)—Opioid analgesics are involved in the majority of pharmaceutical-related overdose deaths, frequently involving drugs prescribed for mental health conditions, according to a research letter published in the Feb. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Christopher M. Jones, Pharm.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed 2010 data from the National Vital Statistics System multiple cause-of-death file to identify pharmaceutical- and opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States and the specific drugs involved.

The researchers found that there were 38,329 , of which 22,134 (57.7 percent) involved pharmaceuticals. Of the pharmaceutical-related deaths, 75.2 percent involved opioids, 29.4 percent involved benzodiazepines, 17.6 percent involved antidepressants, and 7.8 percent involved antiepileptic and anti-parkinsonism drugs. Among overdose deaths involving opioid analgesics, benzodiazepines and antidepressants were most common. Among overdose deaths involving other pharmaceuticals, opioids were frequently implicated.

"This analysis confirms the predominant role play in pharmaceutical overdose deaths, either alone or in combination with other drugs," Jones and colleagues write. "It also, however, highlights the frequent involvement of drugs typically prescribed for such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and antipsychotics in overdose deaths."

More information: Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nonprescription medication abuse underestimated

Oct 04, 2012

Nonprescription medications are just as likely a cause of poisoning as prescription drugs, according to a new study by Timothy Wiegand, M.D. from the University of Rochester Medical Center in the US and colleagues. Their ...

Recommended for you

Big cities take aim at prescription painkillers

18 hours ago

Some of the nation's largest cities are ratcheting up their criticism of prescription painkillers, blaming the industry for a wave of addiction and overdoses that have ravaged their communities and busted local budgets.

World Health Organization policy improves use of medicines

19 hours ago

In this issue of PLOS Medicine, Kathleen Holloway from WHO and David Henry (University of Toronto, Canada) evaluated data on reported adherence to WHO essential medicines practices and measures of quality use of medicines from 5 ...

User comments