Chronic Disease Medication Adherence after Initiation of Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder

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Background:Although buprenorphine is an evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), it is unknown whether buprenorphine use may affect patients' adherence to treatments for chronic, unrelated conditions.Objectives:To quantify the effect of buprenorphine treatment on patient adherence to 5 therapeutic classes: (1) antilipids; (2) antipsychotics; (3) antiepileptics; (4) antidiabetics; and (5) antidepressants.Research Design:This was a retrospective cohort study.Subjects:We started with 12,719 commercially ensured individuals with a diagnosis of OUD and the buprenorphine initiation between January 2011 and June 2015 using Truven Health's MarketScan data. Individuals using any of the 5 therapeutic classes of interest were included.Measures:Within the 180-day period post buprenorphine initiation, we derived 2 daily indicators: having buprenorphine and having chronic medication on hand for each therapeutic class of interest. We applied logistic regression to assess the association between these 2 daily indicators, adjusting for demographics, morbidity, and baseline adherence.Results:Across the 5 therapeutic classes, the probability with a given treatment on hand was always higher on days when buprenorphine was on hand. After adjustment for demographics, morbidity, and baseline adherence, buprenorphine was associated with a greater odds of adherence to antilipids [odds ratio (OR), 1.27; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.04-1.54], antiepileptics (OR, 1.22; CI, 1.10-1.36) and antidepressants (OR, 1.42; CI, 1.32-1.60).Conclusions:Using buprenorphine to treat OUD may increase adherence to treatments for chronic unrelated conditions, a finding of particular importance given high rates of mental illness and other comorbidities among many individuals with OUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-672
Number of pages6
JournalMedical care
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • buprenorphine
  • chronic condition
  • medication adherence
  • medication for addiction treatment
  • opioid use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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