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Emergency Medical Minute


Jan 25, 2022

Contributor: Aaron Lessen, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Think about giving take home naloxone kits for anyone on long-term opioids as well as anyone with an opioid use disorder, those in opioid withdrawal, or those who recently overdosed on opioids
  • Also consider for individuals with non-opioid substance use disorders
  • For patients seen in the ED with an opioid overdose the 1-year mortality is about 5% and 1-month mortality is about 1% 
  • Also 50% of accidental pediatric overdose deaths are due to opioids, so ensuring naloxone is present in the household can save lives
  • Prescriptions have a very low fill rate, so getting naloxone in the hands of people before they leave is important


Strang J, McDonald R, Campbell G, et al. Take-Home Naloxone for the Emergency Interim Management of Opioid Overdose: The Public Health Application of an Emergency Medicine. Drugs. 2019;79(13):1395-1418. doi:10.1007/s40265-019-01154-5

Katzman JG, Takeda MY, Greenberg N, et al. Association of Take-Home Naloxone and Opioid Overdose Reversals Performed by Patients in an Opioid Treatment Program. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(2):e200117. Published 2020 Feb 5. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.0117

Weiner SG, Baker O, Bernson D, Schuur JD. One-Year Mortality of Patients After Emergency Department Treatment for Nonfatal Opioid Overdose. Ann Emerg Med. 2020;75(1):13-17. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.04.020

Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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