Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Gender differences in mortality among treated opioid dependent patients.

Evans E, Kelleghan A, Li L, Min J, Huang D, Urada D, Hser YI, Nosyk B. Gender differences in mortality among treated opioid dependent patients. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2015 Oct 1; 155:228-35.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


AIMS: To assess gender differences in characteristics, mortality rates, and the causes and predictors of death among treated opioid-dependent individuals. METHODS: Linked vital statistics data were obtained for all individuals first enrolled in publicly funded pharmacological treatment for opioid dependence in California from 2006 to 2010. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) were calculated by gender. Cox proportional hazards models with time-varying covariates were fitted to determine the effect of gender on the hazard of all-cause mortality, controlling for covariates. RESULTS: Over a median 2.6 years (interquartile range: 1.4-3.7), 1.031 deaths were observed, including 2.2% (259/11,564) of women and 3.7% (772/20,758) of men. Women had a greater increased risk of mortality compared to the general population (SMR 5.1 95% CI: 4.5, 5.7) than men (SMR 4.3 95% CI: 4.0, 4.6). The relative risk of death for women compared with men was 1.18 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.36). Women had a lower instantaneous hazard of all-cause mortality than men (HR 0.58, 95% CI 0.50, 0.68), controlling for other factors. Significant interaction effects indicated that among men, mortality risk was decreased by full-time employment and increased by non-daily heroin use (relative to daily use) and medical problems. Concurrent opioid and methamphetamine/cocaine use increased mortality risk among women and decreased it among men. CONCLUSIONS: Treatment for opioid dependence is likely to reduce mortality risk among men by addressing employment and medical problems, and via interventions to reduce overdose risk after heroin abstinence, and among women by attending to the concurrent use of methamphetamine/cocaine and opioids.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.