Understanding the rates and characteristics of ambulance attendances for commonly used pharmaceutical opioids in Australia

Project: Other

Project Details

Project Description

Recently the world’s attention has increasingly focused on the escalating opioid-related deaths occurring in North America. Despite a range of preventative strategies being trialled, recent data indicate that the situation continues to worsen. This has put into sharp focus the need to understand the risk profiles associated with different pharmaceuticals.

Recent research from the United States has revealed that harms may vary by potency. Similar research has not been conducted in Australia to understand harms associated with specific types of pharmaceutical opioids may vary.

One population level indicator of opioid-related harm is ambulance attendances. In Australia, ambulance attendances where a pharmaceutical opioid has been identified to a contributing factor to the presentation are currently extracted and coded by trained data scientists. This provides a sensitive measure that can help understand the risk profile with different opioids. These data provide an ideal way to identify if unintended harms are emerging with specific pharmaceutical drugs, notably misuse and overdose. These data can inform both the frequency and severity of presentations associated with different pharmaceutical opioids.

This proposed study aims to examine (supply-adjusted) rates of presentation and presentation characteristics for commonly used opioids in Australia. We will examine commonly prescribed opioids including fentanyl, buprenorphine, oxycodone, codeine, morphine, pethidine, tramadol and tapentadol. The study will also qualitatively describe characteristics of tapentadol-related presentations to understand circumstances surrounding presentations.
Short titlePharmaceutical Opioid ambulance Presentations
Effective start/end date11/12/1829/03/19