A predictive risk model for nonfatal opioid overdose in a statewide population of buprenorphine patients

Hsien Yen Chang, Noa Krawczyk, Kristin E. Schneider, Lindsey Ferris, Matthew Eisenberg, Tom M. Richards, B. Casey Lyons, Kate Jackson, Jonathan P. Weiner, Brendan Saloner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Predicting which individuals who are prescribed buprenorphine for opioid use disorder are most likely to experience an overdose can help target interventions to prevent relapse and subsequent consequences. Methods: We used Maryland prescription drug monitoring data from 2015 to identify risk factors for nonfatal opioid overdoses that were identified in hospital discharge records in 2016. We developed a predictive risk model for prospective nonfatal opioid overdoses among buprenorphine patients (N = 25,487). We estimated a series of models that included demographics plus opioid, buprenorphine and benzodiazepine prescription variables. We applied logistic regression to generate performance measures. Results: About 3.24% of the study cohort had ≥1 nonfatal opioid overdoses. In the model with all predictors, odds of nonfatal overdoses among buprenorphine patients were higher among males (OR = 1.39, 95% CI:1.21–1.62) and those with more buprenorphine pharmacies (OR = 1.19, 95% CI:1.11–1.28), 1+ buprenorphine prescription paid by Medicaid (OR = 1.21, 95% CI:1.02–1.48), Medicare (OR = 1.93, 95% CI:1.63–2.43), or a commercial plan (OR = 1.98, 95% CI:1.30–2.89), 1+ opioid prescription paid by Medicare (OR = 1.30, 95% CI:1.03–1.68), and more benzodiazepine prescriptions (OR = 1.04, 95% CI:1.02–1.05). The odds were lower among those with longer days of buprenorphine (OR = 0.64, 95% CI:0.60-0.69) or opioid (OR = 0.79, 95% CI:0.65-0.95) supply. The model had moderate predictive ability (c-statistic = 0.69). Conclusions: Several modifiable risk factors, such as length of buprenorphine treatment, may be targets for interventions to improve clinical care and reduce harms. This model could be practically implemented with common prescription-related information and allow payers and clinical systems to better target overdose risk reduction interventions, such as naloxone distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-133
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Buprenorphine
  • Opioid analgesics
  • Opioid overdose
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Predictive risk model
  • Prescription drug monitoring programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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