Another busy month in overdose-related research (11 papers), including several toxicology and epidemiology papers, some of which represent novel analytic approaches that serve to advance the field.
Berling I, Whyte IM, Isbister GK.
QJM. 2012 Sep 28. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 23023890 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Comment: High-dose opioids can cause QT prolongation, a hypothetical bugaboo for methadone maintenance. What is QT prolongation? It is a warning sign that somebody might be at risk for a potentially fatal heart rhythm. More detail, you ask? Well, the EKG is a record of electrical activity in the heart – see below. Some medications make the time from Q to T longer. If it gets long enough (usually requiring very high doses of opioids in combination with either other medications or a genetic tendency to have a long QT) it can result in a dangerous heart rhythm.
2. Factors associated with mortality among heroin users after seeking treatment with methadone: A population-based cohort study in Taiwan.
Huang CL, Chung-Wei L.
J Subst Abuse Treat. 2012 Sep 25. pii: S0740-5472(12)00138-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2012.08.003. [Epub ahead of print]
Comment: Methadone is protective from death, but there still is quite a bit of mortality, including overdose.
Okuda S, Ueno M, Hayakawa M, Araki M, Kanda F, Takano S.
Rinsho Shinkeigaku. 2012;52(9):672-6.
Comment: Two case reports of a debilitating white matter brain disease from benzodiazepine overdose.
4. The relationship between alcohol use and injecting drug use: Impacts on health, crime and wellbeing.
Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012 Sep 15. pii: S0376-8716(12)00330-4. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.08.013. [Epub ahead of print]
Comment: Drug injectors who drink heavily have more violent crime and poorer life satisfaction. Somewhat surprisingly, other health outcomes (like heroin overdose) did not survive controlling for potential confounders.