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      Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers and Other Drugs Among Women — United States, 1999–2010

      , PhD, , PharmD, , MD

      MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

      U.S. Centers for Disease Control

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          Abstract

          Background

          Overdose deaths have increased steadily over the past decade. This report describes drug-related deaths and emergency department (ED) visits among women.

          Methods

          CDC analyzed rates of fatal drug overdoses and drug misuse- or abuse-related ED visits among women using data from the National Vital Statistics System (1999–2010) and the Drug Abuse Warning Network (2004–2010).

          Results

          In 2010, a total of 15,323 deaths among women were attributed to drug overdose, a rate of 9.8 per 100,000 population. Deaths from opioid pain relievers (OPRs) increased fivefold between 1999 and 2010 for women; OPR deaths among men increased 3.6 times. In 2010, there were 943,365 ED visits by women for drug misuse or abuse. The highest ED visit rates were for cocaine or heroin (147.2 per 100,000 population), benzodiazepines (134.6), and OPR (129.6). ED visits related to misuse or abuse of OPR among women more than doubled between 2004 and 2010.

          Conclusions

          Although more men die from drug overdoses than women, the percentage increase in deaths since 1999 is greater among women. More women have died each year from drug overdoses than from motor vehicle–related injuries since 2007. Deaths and ED visits related to OPR continue to increase among women. The prominent involvement of psychotherapeutic drugs, such as benzodiazepines, among overdoses provides insight for prevention opportunities.

          Implications for Public Health Practice

          Health-care providers should follow guidelines for responsible prescribing, including screening and monitoring for substance abuse and mental health problems, when prescribing OPR. Health-care providers who treat women for pain should use their state’s prescription drug monitoring program and regularly screen patients for psychological disorders and use of psychotherapeutic drugs, with or without a prescription.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Clinical guidelines for the use of chronic opioid therapy in chronic noncancer pain.

          Use of chronic opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain has increased substantially. The American Pain Society and the American Academy of Pain Medicine commissioned a systematic review of the evidence on chronic opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain and convened a multidisciplinary expert panel to review the evidence and formulate recommendations. Although evidence is limited, the expert panel concluded that chronic opioid therapy can be an effective therapy for carefully selected and monitored patients with chronic noncancer pain. However, opioids are also associated with potentially serious harms, including opioid-related adverse effects and outcomes related to the abuse potential of opioids. The recommendations presented in this document provide guidance on patient selection and risk stratification; informed consent and opioid management plans; initiation and titration of chronic opioid therapy; use of methadone; monitoring of patients on chronic opioid therapy; dose escalations, high-dose opioid therapy, opioid rotation, and indications for discontinuation of therapy; prevention and management of opioid-related adverse effects; driving and work safety; identifying a medical home and when to obtain consultation; management of breakthrough pain; chronic opioid therapy in pregnancy; and opioid-related policies. Safe and effective chronic opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain requires clinical skills and knowledge in both the principles of opioid prescribing and on the assessment and management of risks associated with opioid abuse, addiction, and diversion. Although evidence is limited in many areas related to use of opioids for chronic noncancer pain, this guideline provides recommendations developed by a multidisciplinary expert panel after a systematic review of the evidence.
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            Neonatal abstinence syndrome and associated health care expenditures: United States, 2000-2009.

            Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a postnatal drug withdrawal syndrome primarily caused by maternal opiate use. No national estimates are available for the incidence of maternal opiate use at the time of delivery or NAS. To determine the national incidence of NAS and antepartum maternal opiate use and to characterize trends in national health care expenditures associated with NAS between 2000 and 2009. A retrospective, serial, cross-sectional analysis of a nationally representative sample of newborns with NAS. The Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) was used to identify newborns with NAS by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) code. The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) was used to identify mothers using diagnosis related groups for vaginal and cesarean deliveries. Clinical conditions were identified using ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes. NAS and maternal opiate use were described as an annual frequency per 1000 hospital births. Missing hospital charges (<5% of cases) were estimated using multiple imputation. Trends in health care utilization outcomes over time were evaluated using variance-weighted regression. All hospital charges were adjusted for inflation to 2009 US dollars. Incidence of NAS and maternal opiate use, and related hospital charges. The separate years (2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009) of national discharge data included 2920 to 9674 unweighted discharges with NAS and 987 to 4563 unweighted discharges for mothers diagnosed with antepartum opiate use, within data sets including 784,191 to 1.1 million discharges for children (KID) and 816,554 to 879,910 discharges for all ages of delivering mothers (NIS). Between 2000 and 2009, the incidence of NAS among newborns increased from 1.20 (95% CI, 1.04-1.37) to 3.39 (95% CI, 3.12-3.67) per 1000 hospital births per year (P for trend < .001). Antepartum maternal opiate use also increased from 1.19 (95% CI, 1.01-1.35) to 5.63 (95% CI, 4.40-6.71) per 1000 hospital births per year (P for trend < .001). In 2009, newborns with NAS were more likely than all other hospital births to have low birthweight (19.1%; SE, 0.5%; vs 7.0%; SE, 0.2%), have respiratory complications (30.9%; SE, 0.7%; vs 8.9%; SE, 0.1%), and be covered by Medicaid (78.1%; SE, 0.8%; vs 45.5%; SE, 0.7%; all P < .001). Mean hospital charges for discharges with NAS increased from $39,400 (95% CI, $33,400-$45,400) in 2000 to $53,400 (95% CI, $49,000-$57,700) in 2009 (P for trend < .001). By 2009, 77.6% of charges for NAS were attributed to state Medicaid programs. Between 2000 and 2009, a substantial increase in the incidence of NAS and maternal opiate use in the United States was observed, as well as hospital charges related to NAS.
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              Patterns of abuse among unintentional pharmaceutical overdose fatalities.

               Aron Hall (2008)
              Use and abuse of prescription narcotic analgesics have increased dramatically in the United States since 1990. The effect of this pharmacoepidemic has been most pronounced in rural states, including West Virginia, which experienced the nation's largest increase in drug overdose mortality rates during 1999-2004. To evaluate the risk characteristics of persons dying of unintentional pharmaceutical overdose in West Virginia, the types of drugs involved, and the role of drug abuse in the deaths. Population-based, observational study using data from medical examiner, prescription drug monitoring program, and opiate treatment program records. The study population was all state residents who died of unintentional pharmaceutical overdoses in West Virginia in 2006. Rates and rate ratios for selected demographic variables. Prevalence of specific drugs among decedents and proportion that had been prescribed to decedents. Associations between demographics and substance abuse indicators and evidence of pharmaceutical diversion, defined as a death involving a prescription drug without a documented prescription and having received prescriptions for controlled substances from 5 or more clinicians during the year prior to death (ie, doctor shopping). Of 295 decedents, 198 (67.1%) were men and 271 (91.9%) were aged 18 through 54 years. Pharmaceutical diversion was associated with 186 (63.1%) deaths, while 63 (21.4%) were accompanied by evidence of doctor shopping. Prevalence of diversion was greatest among decedents aged 18 through 24 years and decreased across each successive age group. Having prescriptions for a controlled substance from 5 or more clinicians in the year prior to death was more common among women (30 [30.9%]) and decedents aged 35 through 44 years (23 [30.7%]) compared with men (33 [16.7%]) and other age groups (40 [18.2%]). Substance abuse indicators were identified in 279 decedents (94.6%), with nonmedical routes of exposure and illicit contributory drugs particularly prevalent among drug diverters. Multiple contributory substances were implicated in 234 deaths (79.3%). Opioid analgesics were taken by 275 decedents (93.2%), of whom only 122 (44.4%) had ever been prescribed these drugs. The majority of overdose deaths in West Virginia in 2006 were associated with nonmedical use and diversion of pharmaceuticals, primarily opioid analgesics.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
                MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep
                MMWR
                MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
                U.S. Centers for Disease Control
                0149-2195
                1545-861X
                5 July 2013
                5 July 2013
                : 62
                : 26
                : 537-542
                Affiliations
                Div of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC
                Author notes
                Corresponding contributor: Karin Mack, kmack@ 123456cdc.gov , 770-488-4389.
                Article
                537-542
                4604783
                23820967

                All material in the MMWR Series is in the public domain and may be used and reprinted without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.

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