The risk of infective endocarditis among people who inject drugs: a retrospective, population-based time series analysis
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BACKGROUND: Infective endocarditis is an increasingly common complication among people who inject drugs. We conducted this study to determine whether the removal of traditional controlled-release oxycodone from the Canadian market would be associated with an increase in the use of hydromorphone and an increased risk of infective endocarditis. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective, population-based time series analysis using the linked health administrative databases of Ontario, Canada. We measured the quarterly risk of admissions for infective endocarditis related to injection drug use and changes in opioid prescription rates from 2006 to 2015. We set the intervention point at the fourth quarter of 2011, when traditional controlled-release oxycodone was removed from the Canadian market. RESULTS: We observed an increase in the risk of admissions for infective endocarditis related to injection drug use during the study period. Before the intervention point, we observed a mean of 13.4 admissions per quarter, and after the intervention, we observed a mean of 35.1 admissions per quarter. However, no significant change in this risk occurred at the intervention point. Rather, the risk of infectious endocarditis appeared to have increased earlier and in parallel with the rise in hydromorphone prescriptions. Hydromorphone represented 16% of all opioid prescriptions at the start of the observation period and 53% by the end. INTERPRETATION: The risk of infective endocarditis related to injection drug use is increasing and is temporally associated with increasing prescriptions for hydromorphone. This relation warrants further exploration.