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Prescribing decisions at buprenorphine treatment initiation: Do they matter for treatment discontinuation and adverse opioid-related events?

TitlePrescribing decisions at buprenorphine treatment initiation: Do they matter for treatment discontinuation and adverse opioid-related events?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsMeinhofer A, Williams ARobin, Johnson P, Schackman BR, Bao Y
JournalJ Subst Abuse Treat
Date Published2019 Oct

INTRODUCTION: Buprenorphine is a highly effective medication treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) that can be prescribed in multiple treatment settings. Treatment retention, however, remains a challenge. In this study, we examined the association of days of supply as well as daily dosage of the initial buprenorphine prescription with treatment discontinuation and adverse opioid-related events following buprenorphine initiation.

METHODS: 2011 to 2015 Health Care Cost Institute commercial claims data were analyzed for individuals aged 18-64 years initiating buprenorphine treatment (N = 17,158). Treatment discontinuation was defined as a gap of 30 days or more in buprenorphine use within 180 days of initiation. Adverse opioid-related events were defined as having at least one emergency department visit or inpatient admission involving opioid poisoning, dependence or abuse within 360 days of initiation. We conducted multivariate logistic regressions to estimate adjusted odds ratios of outcomes associated with daily dose (≤4 mg vs. >4 mg) and days of supply (≤7, 8-15, 16-27, or ≥ 28 days) of the initial buprenorphine prescription.

RESULTS: Over one-half (55%) of individuals discontinued buprenorphine within 180 days and 13% experienced at least one adverse opioid-related event within 360 days of initiation. Both a lower initial dose [≤4 mg, OR = 1.79, p < 0.01] and fewer initial days of supply [≤7 days vs. ≥28 days, OR = 1.32, p < 0.01] [8-15 days vs. ≥28 days, OR = 1.22, p < 0.01] were associated with increased odds of discontinuation. While a lower initial dose was not associated with adverse events, fewer initial days of supply were associated with a higher risk of adverse events, even after controlling for treatment discontinuation.

CONCLUSION: In this population of commercially insured, non-elderly adults, we found that fewer initial days of supply as well as a lower initial dose were associated with increased likelihood of treatment discontinuation, highlighting the importance of prescribing decisions when initiating buprenorphine for OUD.

Alternate JournalJ Subst Abuse Treat
PubMed ID31443889
PubMed Central IDPMC6731543
Grant ListP30 DA040500 / DA / NIDA NIH HHS / United States
T32 MH073553 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
Comparative Effectiveness & Outcomes Research
Faculty Publication