Background: Addiction, overdoses and deaths resulting from prescription opioids have increased dramatically over the last decade. In response, several manufacturers have developed formulations of opioids with abuse-deterrent properties. For many of these products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognized the formulation with labeling claims and mandated post-marketing studies to assess the abuse-deterrent effects. In response, we assess differences in rates of opioid-related overdoses and poisonings prior to and following the introduction of a formulation of OxyContin® with abuse-deterrent properties.
Methods/design: To assess effects of this formulation, electronic medical record (EMR) data from Kaiser Permanente Northwest (KPNW) and Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) are linked to state death data and compared to chart audits. Overdose and poisoning events will be categorized by intentionality and number of agents involved, including illicit drugs and alcohol. Using 6-month intervals over a 10-year period, trends will be compared in rates of opioid-related overdoses and poisoning events associated with OxyContin® to rates of events associated with other oxycodone and opioid formulations. Qualitative interviews with patients and relatives of deceased patients will be conducted to capture circumstances surrounding events.
Discussion: This study assesses and tracks changes in opioid-related overdoses and poisoning events prior to and following the introduction of OxyContin® with abuse-deterrent properties. Public health significance is high because these medications are designed to reduce abuse-related behaviors that lead to important adverse outcomes, including overdoses and deaths.
Keywords: Opioids; Overdose; OxyContin®; Poisoning; Prescription drug monitoring.