Bottom Line: Having a family member who was previously dispensed prescription opioids was associated with higher odds of overdose for individuals who themselves didn't have an opioid prescription in this analysis of insurance company data. The study included 2,303 people with the earliest date of an opioid overdose in a family and 9,212 others in the insurance database for comparison. Researchers report the increased risk of opioid overdose for an individual if a family member was prescribed an opioid applied to all age groups and increased with greater quantities of opioids prescribed. Potential interventions include encouraging patients to properly dispose of or secure prescription opioids in their homes, as well as improving patient and public education. Limitations of the study include that the time period analyzed (through 2015) may not reflect current patterns of opioid prescribing or overdoses.
Authors: Joshua J. Gagne, Pharm.D., Sc.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and coauthors
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