Fentanyl misuse: a warning sign for opioid use disorder

  • Schepis TS & al.
  • Addict Behav
  • 22 Apr 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

Takeaway

  • Although misuse of prescription fentanyl (PF) is rare, people who misused PF are significantly more likely to have misused benzodiazepines and heroin, and have had a nonalcohol substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year compared with the general population and people who misuse nonfentanyl prescription opioids (NFPOs).

Why this matters

  • These findings suggest that PF misuse is a warning sign for opioid use disorder and overdose risk.  

Study design

  • Study assessed past-year opioid exposure in 114,043 respondents from National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  • Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Key results

  • 4.4% of participants engaged in past-year NFPO misuse and 0.1% in PF misuse.
  • Past-year heroin use was more common in those who misused PF vs those who misused NFPO (relative risk ratio [RRR], 7.14; P<.001 or those without opioid misuse p>
  • Past-year SUD was significantly high in participants who misused PF vs the other NFPO group (RRR, 3.84; P=.001) or those without opioid misuse (RRR, 20.64; P<.001>
  • Past-year benzodiazepine misuse was more common in those who misused PF vs those who misused NFPO (RRR, 4.10; P<.001 or those without opioid misuse p>

Limitations

  • Self-reported data.

Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD