Venebio Opioid Advisor is the only validated tool to predict the likelihood of a life-threatening opioid overdose with 90-percent accuracy.

RICHMOND, Va. – December 21, 2017 – A study validating the strong performance of Venebio Group’s risk-screening tool for prescription opioid overdose — Venebio Opioid Advisor™ (VOA™) — is slated to be published in the January issue of Pain Medicine.

In the retrospective study of 18.3 million patients treated with opioids in a U.S. commercial health plan database (IMS PharMetrics Plus), VOA demonstrated 90 percent accuracy in correctly distinguishing those opioid users who did and did not experience an overdose. The researchers identified 7,234 cases of opioid overdose in this commercially insured population, which is the largest such case series to date among U.S. medical users of prescription opioids.

VOA uses a proprietary algorithm to develop a personalized risk profile based on multiple demographic and clinical variables associated with prescription opioid overdose. It is the only validated clinical decision support tool that quantifies a patient’s likelihood of experiencing a life-threatening overdose from a prescription opioid, determines a personalized risk factor profile for each patient and provides clinicians with individualized guidance regarding interventions to reduce the patient’s risk of overdose.

Venebio Opioid Advisor has been implemented by several health care organizations, including Amida Care and Virginia Premier Health Plan, to screen for patients at risk of experiencing a prescription opioid overdose.

A recently published white paper, “Predictive Analytics Can Help Reduce Prescription Opioid Overdoses and Health Care Costs,” projected VOA to help reduce the incidence of prescription opioid overdose by 15 percent, leading to:

“VOA was designed and intended to fill a practical need for a relatively brief and simple screening instrument with high predictive performance in a typically busy clinical practice or in screening a population of patients treated with opioids,” said Lenn Murrelle, MSPH, Ph.D., president and CEO of Venebio.

Prescription opioid sales quadrupled in the United States between 1999 and 2010 [2], and deaths from prescription opioid overdose have increased in near parallel proportions, from 4,030 in 1999 to more than 15,000 in 2015 [3][4]

“Pain and its management are complex and multidimensional, and the risk of an opioid overdose is likewise dependent on many factors,” added Barbara Zedler, M.D., lead author and chief medical officer of Venebio. “Primary care professionals express concern about prescription opioid misuse and find managing patients with chronic pain to be stressful. Many feel inadequately trained in prescribing opioids and treating or managing opioid use disorder or addiction.”

Further development of VOA focuses on prospective studies that are underway, supported by a $1.5-million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“VOA offers proven and personalized information that can reduce the number of life-threatening prescription opioid overdoses,” added Murrelle.

The study, “Validation of a Screening Risk Index for Serious Prescription Opioid-induced Respiratory Depression or Overdose in a U.S. Commercial Health Plan Claims Database,” was funded by Kaléo, Inc., a privately held pharmaceutical company. The full study is currently available online at: and additional information is available at


About Venebio Group
Venebio is a research consultancy that provides cost-effective, custom solutions for complex life sciences problems. By integrating the expertise of a global network of scientists in a broad range of biomedical fields, Venebio delivers comprehensive project management and problem solving in genetic and molecular epidemiology, pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance, personalized medicine, bioinformatics, biomarker discovery, and epidemiologic literature reviews and analysis. Learn more at and


[1] Thompson S, Sasinowski M, Zedler B, Joyce A, Tripodi M, Murrelle E. Predictive Analytics Can Help Reduce Prescription Opioid Overdoses and Health Care Costs. Richmond, VA: Venebio Group, LLC; 2017.

[2] Paulozzi L, Jones C, Mack KA, Rudd R. Vital signs: Overdoses of prescription opioid pain relievers – United States, 1999-2008. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2011;60(43):1487-92.

[3] CDC. Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2016. Available at:

[4] CDC. Prescription opioid overdose data. 2016. Available at: