Somatic disease burdens among ageing, long-term opioid maintenance treatment patients
In a recently published article, researchers at SERAF and NIPH together with the user organization proLAR-Nett, have investigated the somatic disease burden for aging long-term patients in OMT.
We used data from the Norwegian Cohort of Patient in Opioid Maintenance Treatment and Other Drug Treatment Study (NorComt).
The article is based on data from 156 patients who had long-term OMT experience. Mean age was 48 years.
More than half of the patients reported at least seven somatic health problems.
High somatic disease burden was associated with more symptoms of anxiety and depression, more chronic conditions, shorter time in OMT and greater dissatisfaction with treatment.
The majority of patients were satisfied with their OMT treatment, and only 8% reported that they were dissatisfied with the treatment.
An aging patient population is an expression of success in treatment, but increasing age in the patient population in OMT also offers some new challenges.
Project leader Prof. Thomas Clausen believes that the study can have important implications for clinical practice and recommends that patients in OMT are offered regular health examinations as part of OMT where health problems, chronic diseases, side effects from OMT-medications and quality of life are examined and discussed with the patient.
Leader of proLAR-Nett (a patient organization), Ronny Bjørnestad, hopes the health services in the future will have a stronger focus on somatic challenges among OMT patients and especially the elderly.
He believes that more options and flexibility around medication choices in OMT can contribute positively.