Both opioid use and COVID-19 affect respiratory and pulmonary health, potentially putting individuals with opioid use disorders (OUD) at risk for complications from COVID-19. We examine the relationship between OUD and subsequent hospitalization, length of stay, risk for invasive ventilator dependence (IVD), and COVID-19 mortality.
Multivariable logistic and exponential regression models using electronic health records data from the Cerner COVID-19 De-Identified Data Cohort from January through June 2020.
Out of 52,312 patients with COVID-19, 1.9% (n=1,013) had an OUD. COVID-19 patients with an OUD had higher odds of hospitalization (aOR=3.44, 95% CI=2.81–4.21), maximum length of stay (eβˆ=1.16, 95% CI=1.09–1.22), and odds of IVD (aOR=1.26, 95% CI=1.06–1.49) than patients without an OUD, but did not differ with respect to COVID-19 mortality. However, OUD patients under age 45 exhibited greater COVID-19 mortality (aOR=3.23, 95% CI=1.59–6.56) compared to patients under age 45 without an OUD. OUD patients using opioid agonist treatment (OAT) exhibited higher odds of hospitalization (aOR=5.14, 95% CI=2.75–10.60) and higher maximum length of stay (eβˆ=1.22, 95% CI=1.01–1.48) than patients without OUDs; however, risk for IVD and COVID-19 mortality did not differ. OUD patients using naltrexone had higher odds of hospitalization (aOR=32.19, 95% CI=4.29–4,119.83), higher maximum length of stay (eβˆ=1.59, 95% CI=1.06–2.38), and higher odds of IVD (aOR=3.15, 95% CI=1.04–9.51) than patients without OUDs, but mortality did not differ. OUD patients who did not use treatment medication had higher odds of hospitalization (aOR=4.05, 95% CI=3.32–4.98), higher maximum length of stay (eβˆ=1.14, 95% CI=1.08–1.21), and higher odds of IVD (aOR=1.25, 95% CI=1.04–1.50) and COVID-19 mortality (aOR=1.31, 95% CI=1.07–1.61) than patients without OUDs.
This study suggests people with OUD and COVID-19 often require higher levels of care, and OUD patients who are younger or not using medication treatment for OUDs are particularly vulnerable to death due to COVID-19.