Mortality is reduced while on opiate maintenance treatment, but there is a temporary increase in mortality immediately after starting and stopping treatment, a finding that may vary by setting
Commentary on: Cornish R, Macleod J, Strang J, et al . Risk of death during and after opiate substitution treatment in primary care: prospective observational study in UK General Practice Research Database. BMJ 2010;341:c5475.
The absolute risk of overdose varies considerably across different regions, and characteristics of the drug users and the structure of the treatment provided may explain these observed variations. Provision of opioid maintenance treatment (OMT) has been found to be an effective strategy in reducing the risk of overdose deaths among heroin-using adults. 1 However, much remains to be learned of optimal treatment delivery. Harm reduction and easy access to OMT by general practitioner (GP) prescription is one treatment model, whereas prescription from specialist OMT centres is another. The current study is novel in describing outcomes from a GP-based prescription model.