BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) suffer disproportionately from COVID-19. To inform clinical management of OUD patients, research is needed to identify characteristics associated with COVID-19 progression and death among this population. We aimed to investigate the role of OUD and specific comorbidities on COVID-19 progression among hospitalized OUD patients.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study of merged electronic health records (EHR) from five large private health systems.
SETTING: New York City, New York, USA, 2011-2021.
PARTICIPANTS: Adults with a COVID-19 encounter and OUD or opioid overdose diagnosis between March 2020-February 2021.
MEASUREMENTS: Primary exposure included diagnosis of OUD/opioid overdose. Risk factors included age, sex, race/ethnicity and common medical, substance use and psychiatric co-morbidities known to be associated with COVID-19 severity. Outcomes included COVID-19 hospitalization and subsequent intubation, acute kidney failure, severe sepsis and death.
FINDINGS: Of 110,917 COVID-19+ adults, 1.17% were ever diagnosed with OUD/opioid overdose. OUD patients had higher risk of COVID-19 hospitalization (adjusted risk ratio [aRR]: 1.40 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.33, 1.47]), intubation (adjusted aood ratio [aOR]: 2.05 [95% CI 1.74, 2.42]), kidney failure (aRR: 1.51 [95% CI 1.34, 1.70)), sepsis (aRR: 2.30 [95% CI 1.88, 2.81]), and death (aRR: 2.10 [95% CI 1.84, 2.40)]. Among hospitalized OUD patients, risks for COVID-19 outcomes included being male; older; of a race/ethnicity other than white, Black or Hispanic; and having co-morbid chronic kidney disease, diabetes, obesity or cancer. Protective factors included having asthma, hepatitis-C, and chronic pain.
CONCLUSIONS: Opioid use disorder patients appears to have a substantial risk for COVID-19-associated morbidity and mortality, with particular comorbidities and treatments potentially moderating this risk.
COVID-19 complications among patients with opioid use disorder: A retrospective cohort study across five major NYC hospital systems
Addiction, 118 (5), 857-869. doi: 10.1111/add.16105. PMCID: PMC9878119.