Treatment of opioid withdrawal, specifically, the widespread availability of buprenorphine, is urgently needed to keep users safe.
Investigators at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (UCLA), found that opioid withdrawal is significantly associated with syringe sharing as well as nonfatal overdose, after controlling for confounders.
“I think we should start treating people with opioid use disorder [OUD] for their frequent withdrawal symptoms rather than waiting until a ‘quit attempt,’ ” lead investigator Ricky Blumenthal, PhD, associate dean for social justice and professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute for Prevention Research, Keck School of Medicine, UCLA, told Medscape Medical News.
“This urgently needed treatment should include buprenorphine, which, when made available to this patient population, will ultimately reduce their use of opioids and thereby improve health outcomes,” he said.
The study was published online March 18 in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.