MPS advises of need for better awareness of cauda equina red flag symptoms

MPS advises of need for better awareness of cauda equina red flag symptoms

May 9 2018 The Medical Protection Society is advising doctors of a revision to the NICE Clinical...

Anticholinergics linked to increased risk of dementia

Anticholinergics linked to increased risk of dementia

April 30 2018 Anticholinergic drugs used in helping control some involuntary muscle movement...

Women of childbearing potential must be on Pregnancy Prevention Programme if taking valproate

Women of childbearing potential must be on Pregnancy Prevention Programme if taking valproate

April 27 2018 Women and girls of childbearing potential must no longer take valproate medicines...

Buprenorphine may be safer than methadone in opioid substitute therapy, study suggests

Buprenorphine may be safer than methadone in opioid substitute therapy, study suggests

April 23 2018 Buprenorphine has been found to have lower rates of overdose death than methadone...

Class of diabetes drug linked to increased risk of irritable bowel disease

Class of diabetes drug linked to increased risk of irritable bowel disease

March 29 2018 A study has shown that dipeptidylpeptidase-4 inhibitors may increase the risk of...

  • MPS advises of need for better awareness of cauda equina red flag symptoms

    MPS advises of need for better awareness of cauda equina red flag symptoms

    Wednesday, 09 May 2018 16:01
  • Anticholinergics linked to increased risk of dementia

    Anticholinergics linked to increased risk of dementia

    Monday, 30 April 2018 12:20
  • Women of childbearing potential must be on Pregnancy Prevention Programme if taking valproate

    Women of childbearing potential must be on Pregnancy Prevention Programme if taking valproate

    Friday, 27 April 2018 12:12
  • Buprenorphine may be safer than methadone in opioid substitute therapy, study suggests

    Buprenorphine may be safer than methadone in opioid substitute therapy, study suggests

    Monday, 23 April 2018 16:59
  • Class of diabetes drug linked to increased risk of irritable bowel disease

    Class of diabetes drug linked to increased risk of irritable bowel disease

    Thursday, 29 March 2018 11:49

a syringe imageApril 23 2018

Buprenorphine has been found to have lower rates of overdose death than methadone when used in opioid substitute therapy. The impact was particularly seen in the first four weeks of treatment, researchers from the University of Bristol have found.


Data from 11,000 GP practices indicated that buprenorphine was prescribed for approximately a third of opioid substitution patients, while methadone was used in two-thirds of cases.

“Patients on buprenorphine had substantially lower rates of overdose death during treatment compared to those on methadone: four times lower in the first 4 weeks (0.3% compared with 1.24%) and almost twice as low during the rest of time on treatment (0.18% compared with 0.33%). These differences remained even after adjusting for differences in patient and practice characteristics for those prescribed methadone or buprenorphine,” said the National Institute for Health Research.

“Patients on buprenorphine also had lower rates of all-cause mortality during and immediately after treatment – which may be because patients who are older and have other physical and mental health complications may do better on buprenorphine than methadone.”

Although numbers of patients in opioid substitution therapy are at record levels, the number of drug-related deaths is continuing to rise.

Professor Matthew Hickman, from the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit and Population Health Sciences at University of Bristol, was a co-lead author of the study, published in Addiction. “Our research provides evidence to support a change in the way treatment is delivered that could save lives,” he said. 

“We now need trials in the UK on how we combine different opioid substitution treatments alongside other behaviour change interventions to retain people in treatment long enough to reduce the number of drug related deaths in the population.”

Links:
NIHR announcement    
M Hickman et al. ‘The impact of buprenorphine and methadone on mortality: a primary care cohort study in the United Kingdom’. Addiction. Published online April 19 2018.   

Clinical News

June 22 2018 A review into the scheduling of cannabis for medicinal purposes will look for “significant medical and therapeutic benefits” before a decision is made.
June 6 2018 The Royal College of General Practitioners has called for visa regulations to be reviewed to allow more doctors to work as GPs in the NHS. Home Secretary Sajit Javid announced on Sunday...