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This population-based nested case-control study investigated the relationship between opioid dose and related mortality among Ontario, Canada, residents with nonmalignant pain eligible for public drug funding. Gomes et al found that a high daily dose of opioids is associated with large relative and absolute increases in opioid-related mortality. In particular, doses exceeding 200 mg of morphine (or equivalent) were associated with a nearly 3-fold risk compared with lower doses (<20 mg of morphine or equivalent). These findings have important implications, largely because the majority of opioid deaths were avoidable and occurred in young people (aged 43 years at death, on average).
In This Issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(7):614. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.118
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