Washington: A new study found that people who inject drugs have a significant increase in the risk of infective endocarditis. It is a serious infection of the lining of the heart and is possibly linked to increased use of the hydromorphone opioid.
The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
Speaking about the study, the first author, Matthew Weir, wrote: "We observed a substantial increase in the risk of infective endocarditis among people who inject drugs, which is associated with the increased participation of hydromorphone in the prescription opioid market."
The study also found that although admission rates for people using injectable drugs were stable during the study period, the risk of infective endocarditis increased from 13.4 admissions every three months (fourth quarter of 2011) to 35.1 admissions every three months in the subsequent period.
While the percentage of opioid prescriptions attributed to controlled release oxycodone declined rapidly when it was withdrawn from the market by its manufacturer in the fourth quarter of 2011, hydromorphone prescriptions increased from 16% at the start of the study to 53% at the start of the study. end.
The researchers expected that an increased risk of infective endocarditis would occur when controlled release oxycodone was removed from the Canadian market; however, they discovered that the ascent began before removal.
Speaking about it, co-author Dr. Michael Silverman said: "Although our observations do not support our hypothesis that controlled release oxycodone loss increased the use of hydromorphone, they hold our suspicions.
that hydromorphone may be playing a role in the increasing risk of infective endocarditis. "
The increased risk of infective endocarditis is consistent with findings from other studies, but the time observed for the increase was new.