The Association of Opioid Use Disorder and COVID‑19, a Longitudinal Study

Zhaleh Jamali, Mohammad Hassan Emamian, Hassan Hashemi, Akbar Fotouhi


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) quickly spread to the world, causing a pandemic. While some studies have found no link between opioid use disorder (OUD) and COVID‑19, the role of opioid on COVID‑19 is challenging. The present study aimed to determine the relationship between OUD and COVID‑19.

Methods: This was a prospective cohort study. We used data from the third phase of the Shahroud Eye Cohort Study on 4394 participants which started in September 2019 and ended before the COVID‑19 epidemic in Shahroud in February 2020. The participants were followed for about 13 months till March 26, 2021. COVID‑19 was detected by RT‑PCR on swap samples from the oropharynx and nasopharynx. The incidence of COVID‑19 compared in OUD and non‑OUD participants, and relative risk was calculated in log‑binomial regression models.

Results: Among the 4394 participants with a mean age of 61.1 years, 120 people had OUD. The incidence of COVID‑19 in participants with OUD and non‑OUD was 4.17% and 6.22%, respectively (P‑value: 0356). The relative risk of OUD for COVID‑19 was 0.60 (95% confidence intervals: 0.25–1.44; P value: 0.251).

Conclusions: OUD was not associated with COVID‑19. The claim that people with OUD are less likely to develop COVID‑19 is not supported by these data.


Addiction; COVID‑19; Iran; opioid, pandemic; SARS‑CoV‑2

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