Study: Prescribe Anti-Overdose Drug With OpioidsNovember 9, 2016 |
by The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Prescribing an anti-overdose drug at the same time as opioid painkillers can help prevent overdose deaths, according to researchers at the University of New Mexico.
Researchers studied 164 patients at the UNM Pain Center for a year and published their findings in the journal Substance Abuse in April, The Albuquerque Journal eported. Narcotic painkillers were responsible for nearly half of New Mexico’s drug overdose deaths in 2014, but many people depend on drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone to manage chronic pain.
The drug naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose from heroin or prescription painkillers. And spending just 10 minutes explaining its use to family members and friends of patients treated with opioids could help save someone’s life, said Dr. Joanna Katzman, director of the UNM Pain Center a co-author of the study.
Educating friends and family is crucial, said Katzman, because the drug can’t be self-administered by someone experiencing an overdose.
The UNM study is the first time opioids and naloxone were co-prescribed to all patients at an outpatient clinic. Doing so “can be a simple, streamlined and valuable addition” to such clinics, the study concluded.