Identifying mortality risks in patients with opioid use disorder using brief screening assessment: Secondary mental health clinical records analysis

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Abstract

Background: Risk assessments are widely used, but their ability to predict outcomes in opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment remains unclear. Therefore, the aim was to investigate if addiction-specific brief risk screening is effective in identifying high mortality risk groups and if subsequent clinical actions following risk assessment impacts on mortality levels.

Methods: Opioid use disorder (OUD) patients were identified in the South London and Maudsley Case Register. Deaths were identified through database linkage to the national mortality dataset. Cox and competing-risk regression were used to model associations between brief risk assessment domains and all-cause and overdose mortality in 4488 OUD patients, with up-to 6-year follow-up time where 227 deaths were registered. Data were stratified by admission to general mental health services.

Results: All-cause mortality was significantly associated with unsafe injecting (HR 1.53, 95%CI 1.10-2.11) and clinically appraised likelihood of accidental overdose (HR 1.48, 95%CI 1.00-2.19). Overdose-mortality was significantly associated unsafe injecting (SHR 2.52, 95%CI 1.11-5.70) and clinically appraised suicidality (SHR 2.89, 95%CI 1.38-6.03). Suicidality was associated with a twofold increase in mortality risk among OUD patients who were not admitted to mental health services within 2 months of their risk assessment (HR 2.03, 95%CI 1.67-3.24).

Conclusions: Diagnosis-specific brief risk screening can identify OUD patient subgroups at increased risk of all-cause and overdose mortality. OUD patients, where suicidality is evident, who are not admitted into services are particularly vulnerable.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Early online date6 May 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2016

Keywords

  • Opioids
  • Heroin
  • Treatment
  • Mortality
  • Risk Assessment
  • Suicide
  • Overdose
  • Injecting

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