Routinely prescribing naloxone to certain patients who take opioid medications might reduce the number of overdose deaths, a new study suggests.
The study followed almost 2,000 people who were prescribed opioid painkillers for long-term pain at San Francisco clinics, HealthDay reports. About 38 percent were also prescribed the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. Patients were more likely to receive a prescription for naloxone if they were on a higher dose of opioids, or had experienced an opioid-related emergency room visit.
Patients who received a naloxone prescription had 47 percent fewer opioid-related emergency department visits per month in the six months after receiving the prescription, and 63 percent fewer visits after one year, compared with patients who did not receive naloxone.