Are we missing the opioid consumption in low- and middle-income countries?

Publication type
Journal article
Correia I, Meziat-Filho N, Furlan AD, Saragiotto B, Reis FJJ
Date published
2024 Jan 01
Scandinavian Journal of Pain
Open Access?

Objectives: The rise in opioid prescriptions with a parallel increase in opioid use disorders remains a significant challenge in some developed countries (opioid epidemic). However, little is known about opioid consumption in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In this short report, we aim to discuss the increase in opioid consumption in LMICs by providing an update on the opioid perspective in Brazil. Methods: We analyzed opioid sales on the publicly available Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) database from 2015 to 2020. Results: In Brazil, opioid sales increased 34.8 %, from 8,839,029 prescriptions in 2015 to 11,913,823 prescriptions in 2020, this represents an increase from 44 to 56 prescriptions for every 1,000 inhabitants. Codeine phosphate combined with paracetamol and tramadol hydrochloride were the most common opioids prescribed with an increase each year. Conclusions: The results suggest that opioid prescriptions are rising in Brazil in a 5 years period. Brazil may have a unique opportunity to learn from other countries and develop consistent policies and guidelines to better educate patients and prescribers and to prevent an opioid crisis.