Purdue Pharma L.P. Presents United Kingdom Data on Opioid Dosage Strength as a Predictor of Overdose Risk at International Society For Pharmacoepidemiology Conference

Published: Aug 29, 2013

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STAMFORD, Conn., Aug. 26, 2013 – Purdue Pharma L.P. presented results of a data analysis evaluating the relationship between the prescribed dosage strength of opioid analgesics and risk of opioid overdose risk among patients in the United Kingdom. Opioid dose was not a risk factor for opioid overdose. The data is being presented at the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology’s (ISPE) 29th International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology & Therapeutic Risk Management, Aug. 25-28 in Montréal, Canada.

The poster “Opioid Analgesic Dosage Strength as a Predictor of Overdose Risk in the UK” assessed the relationship between dosage strength and risk of overdose within three extended-release (ER) opioid analgesics. The study included over 74,000 patients prescribed extended release opioid analgesics between 2005 and 2010 as identified in an electronic medical record database where 426 events were coded as overdoses. The risk of opioid overdose among patients prescribed 1-30 mg daily morphine equivalent dose (MED) was compared to that among patients prescribed 31-60 mg/day, 61-90 mg/day, 91-120 mg/day and more than 120 mg/day MED. Results of these analyses found no significant increase in the rate of overdose as the prescribed opioid dose increased. The relative risk of overdose among patients prescribed more than 120 mg/day vs. 1-30 mg/day MED was 1.15 (95% confidence interval: 0.87, 1.53).

The study findings are in contrast to four U.S. papers that found U.S. patients prescribed higher daily doses of opioid analgesics have a higher risk of overdose. These four published analyses pooled all types of opioid analgesics with different indications and did not control for non-patient abuse.

Study authors used the Health Improvement Network, which is an electronic medical record database maintained by over 450 practices of general practitioners covering more than 7.5 million patients in the UK. The analysis covered male and female subjects, age 18 years or older, with at least one prescription for one of three extended-release opioids.

“We believe this study of UK data is another data point to assess overdose risks. Previous studies did not distinguish among opioids, said Gary L. Stiles, M.D., Vice President of Research and Development at Purdue. “Furthermore, since abuse generally increases the risk for overdose, and non-patients who seek access to opioids for purposes of abuse prefer higher doses, non-patient individuals who were abusing these medications were not controlled for in the four US studies.”

The research was funded by Purdue Pharma L.P.

About Purdue Pharma L.P.

Purdue Pharma L.P. and its associated U.S. companies are privately held pharmaceutical companies known for pioneering research on persistent pain. Headquartered in Stamford, CT, Purdue Pharma is engaged in the research, development, production and distribution of both prescription and over-the-counter medicines and hospital products. Additional information about Purdue can be found at www.purduepharma.com.


Jim Heins

Senior Director, Public Affairs



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