HCPLive Network

Distributing Naloxone to Heroin Users Is Likely Cost-Effective and May Reduce Overdose Deaths

 
FRIDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Distributing naloxone to heroin users for lay administration for overdose reversal would be cost-effective and likely reduce overdose deaths, according to a study published in the Jan. 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Phillip O. Coffin, M.D., from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and Sean D. Sullivan, Ph.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, used published literature calibrated to epidemiological data to analyze scenarios involving a hypothetical 21-year-old novice U.S. heroin user and more experienced users to estimate the cost-effectiveness of distributing naloxone. The overdose deaths prevented and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) were assessed using deterministic and probabilistic analyses.

In the best-case analysis, the researchers found that 6 percent of overdose deaths would be prevented with naloxone distribution, with distribution of 227 naloxone kits necessary to prevent one death. Distribution of naloxone correlated with a $53 increase in costs and a 0.119 increase in quality-adjusted life-years, for an ICER of $438. In a worse-case scenario, the estimated ICER was $14,000, where overdose was rarely witnessed and naloxone was seldom used, minimally effective, and expensive. Application of national drug-related expenditures to heroin users would result in an ICER of $2,429. In all deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity and scenario analyses, naloxone distribution was considered to be cost-effective, and if it resulted in fewer overdoses or emergency medical service activations, it was considered cost-saving.

"Naloxone distribution to heroin users is likely to reduce overdose deaths and is cost-effective, even under markedly conservative assumptions," the authors write.
 

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)

 
Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
 

Further Reading
No matter what reason a patient is in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital every moment and medication they take matters in helping them recover. A recent study looked at what dose of systemic corticosteroids should be given to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations during their time in critical care.
Hepatitis C virus, fibrosis, and cirrhosis patients with sustained virological response can have survival rates comparable to the general population, according to research published in JAMA.
For low-income adults with uncontrolled asthma, home visitation by community health workers is associated with improvements in asthma control and quality of life, according to a study published online Nov. 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
More Reading