Opioids and Infectious Diseases: The Dual Epidemic

Zola Nlandu, MD
Monday, April 20, 2020
Category: Bacterial Infections, Hepatitis, Hepatitis-Viral, HIV/AIDS, Viral Infections

Dr. Nlandu focuses on the opioid epidemic, and the increasing prevalence of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in American society. He begins by looking at the epidemiology of the opioid epidemic, including how pharmaceutical manufacturer-centered initiatives to promote increased awareness of pain and misinformation about the addictive potential of opiates led to increased prescribing by providers. Over time, this led to misuse of opiate products and the declaration of a public health emergency by HHS in 2017. He then defines opiate use disorder and discusses how to identify patients at risk for the syndrome. Next, Dr. Nlandu relates how patients with OUD are at risk for the development of a variety of infectious diseases, including bacterial and viral disorders. He discusses opiates and HIV, Opiates and Hepatitis B and C, and opiates and bacteremia and endocarditis. Dr. Nlandu also touches upon the administration of outpatient antibiotic therapy in patients with IV drug use history. Lastly, Dr. Nlandu mentions needle exchange programs and the application for an MAT waiver to treat patients with opioid use disorder.

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