Medication-assisted treatment linked to 82% drop in overdose deaths

Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder may prevent more fatal overdoses than traditional therapy methods, according to a study published in the journal Addiction.

For the study, researchers analyzed treatment data and death records for 48,274 adults admitted to outpatient treatment centers for opioid use disorder in Maryland from 2015-16.

A total of 371 opioid overdose deaths occurred during the study period. Researchers found patients treated with anti-opioid drugs such as methadone or buprenorphine were 82 percent less likely to die of an overdose than those receiving non-medication treatments such as psychotherapy.

However, patients were at an equally high risk of overdose after leaving their treatment programs, regardless of which type of therapy they received.

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