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Eur Addict Res. 2008;14(2):82-91. doi: 10.1159/000113722. Epub 2008 Mar 11.

Mortality in opioid-maintained patients after release from an addiction clinic.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Division of Biological Psychiatry, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

AIM:

To investigate the mortality rate in a cohort of 269 opioid-dependent patients and the outcome of survivors meeting DSM-IV criteria for opioid dependence.

DESIGN:

Retrospective cohort study.

PARTICIPANTS:

Patients enrolled in synthetic opioid maintenance therapy during a time frame from 1998 to 1999 originally at the Addiction Clinic and then discharged to general practitioners.

METHODS:

Structured interviews (Europ-ASI), urinalysis at time of interview as well as autopsy findings from deceased patients.

RESULTS:

After six mailings, information from 147 (54.6%) patients was gained. 85 patients (31.6%) were interviewed. From these 76.5% (n = 65) were still enrolled in maintenance therapy, 18.8% (n = 16) were drug-free and 4.7% (n = 4) relapsed. From 29 fatalities, 37.9% died of intoxication with illicit substances, 34.5% related to AIDS and 27.6% of somatic complications. The Standardized Mortality Ratio (SMR) was 29.13 (95% CI = 19.27-44.04). A higher lifetime frequency of hospitalization, less working days and a lack of social relationships were factors associated with high mortality.

CONCLUSIONS:

The study confirms the high mortality rate in this patient group and supports the importance of maintenance therapy. Although great efforts were undertaken in locating patients, about 45% of the target group could not be located.

PMID:
18334818
DOI:
10.1159/000113722
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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