Some patients at high risk for opioid relapse
A new research reported that certain patients with drug addictions are more likely to relapse from treatment than others. This suggests that there are certain factors that can help health care providers to better predict who might relapse during treatment for prescription opioid painkiller addiction.
In the United States and Canada, opioid abuse is a serious public health issue. Methadone treatment is the widely used intervention for those with drug addiction. Nearly half of patients who seek methadone treatment for opioid abuse continue to abuse the drugs during or after treatment. Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin are types of opioid painkillers.
According to Dr. Zena Samaan, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, principal author, "We can improve our tailoring of treatment to each patient if we know who among patients taking methadone treatment is at high risk for opioid relapse." She added, "As well, health care providers can target more aggressive therapies to those at high risk."
Samaan and her team collected data from 250 patients who had been on a methadone treatment for an average of four years in Ontario. The researchers found that relapse was more likely common among certain groups of patients. They revealed that those who injected drugs were more than twice as likely to relapse by using opioids while on treatment, than those who did not inject drugs. There was 10% higher risk of relapse for every year later in life that a person first began abusing opioids. Furthermore, the researchers found that 7% increase in relapse for every day people used tranquilizers in the previous month.
However, the older the patient is when in the treatment, the less likely they are to relapse as researchers reported in Substance Abuse Research and Treatment.