LOMA LINDA, CA - Dr. Carrie Lam, Dr. Lam Coaching nutritional coach and chief resident of Family Medicine at Loma Linda University Health, won first place in the 2019 Premier Research Competition for her work on "Prescribing Naloxone to Chronic Opioid Users: Barriers to Care."
She presented her findings and conclusions regarding the usage of naloxone at the Family Medicine 19th Annual Resident Research Competition in June.
According to the Surgeon General of the United States, spreading awareness on what naloxone is, how to use it, and when to use it can save lives of opioid addicts. This information should be taught not only to healthcare practitioners, but also to the opioid users themselves, as well as their family, friends, and the wider community.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that works by displacing opioids from opioid receptors, blocking their uptake. It is a very fast and effective way to stop an opioid overdose of any kind, from heroin, methadone, morphine, and others. This gives the patient enough time to get the medical attention s/he needs. It can be given intravenously, intramuscularly, intranasally, or subcutaneously.
Because Dr. Carrie Lam works to empower her patients to take their health and wellbeing into their own hands, she and her fellow residents looked into how educating them on naloxone and increasing their prescriptions to the drug may help reduce overdose risk. They also noted the barriers that came up during this intervention in order to improve their approach in the future.
At first, their goal was to increase their patients’ naloxone prescriptions from 21% to 50%, but once they completed their intervention, 97% of their patients were prescribed naloxone prescriptions. This is good news, because looking at the data from the San Francisco area, patients who received a naloxone prescription had 47% fewer opioid-related ED visits in six months and 63% fewer ED visits
after one month compared to patients that did not. In the field of drug addiction treatment, this is a significant improvement that should inspire others to follow suit, which is exactly what Dr. Carrie’s study aims at doing.