CDC Study Reveals Methadone Overdose Rates

According to a recently published CDC report, methadone deaths accounted for 23% of deaths related to opioid prescriptions in 2014.  Overall, the rate of methadone-overdose deaths increased from 0.3 persons per 100,000 in 1999 to 1.8 persons per 100,000 in 2006, then decreased to 1.1 persons per 100,000 people in 2014.  The drug accounts for only 1% of opioid prescriptions written annually.

The CDC study also examined methadone prescriptions written by insurance type and found that Medicaid patients accounted for a significantly higher percentage of these prescriptions than other insurance types.  In comparing states with Medicaid programs where Methadone was on the “preferred drug list” (such as Florida and North Carolina), the overdoses were significantly higher than those where methadone was not on the state Medicaid program’s PDL.  The study recommended further analysis of Medicaid drug utilization management of methadone versus other evidence-based pain management treatment strategies.