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.
Patients who received naloxone were told when and how to use the drug, which was provided in a nasal spray device. They were also told to ensure someone else knew where the...