By Keith Humphreys
Overdose from prescription opioids (e.g., Oxycodone or Hydrocodone) has become one of the most common causes of accidental death in the United States. Two new articles in BMJ suggest that overdose is not the only risk about which patients, prescribers and policy makers should be concerned.
Khademi and colleagues conducted a prospective study of a cohort of 50,045 Iranians. They followed up over 99 percent of the sample and then assessed the impact of opium use on mortality. After statistically adjusting for cigarette smoking, education, age and other factors, the research team reported that opium use nearly doubled the risk of death. The number of diseases with increased incidence among opium users was large, and included tuberculosis, cancer and COPD. The results held even when the researchers excluded from analysis individuals who started using opium in response to the onset of a chronic illness. » More