Patterns of Buprenorphine-Naloxone Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in a Multistate Population

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Background: Buprenorphine-naloxone treatment for opioid use disorder has rapidly expanded, yet little is known about treatment outcomes among patients in the general population. Objective: To examine predictors of treatment duration, dosage, and continuity in a diverse community setting. Research Design: We examined QuintilesIMS Real World Data, an all-payer, pharmacy claims database, to conduct an analysis of individuals age 18 years and above initiating buprenorphine-naloxone treatment between January 2010 and July 2012 in 11 states. We used logistic regression to assess treatment duration longer than 6 months. We used accelerated failure time models to assess risk of treatment discontinuation. We used ordinary least squares regression to assess mean daily dosage. For patients with ≥3 fills, we also used logistic regression to assess whether;an individual had a medication possession ratio of <80% and/or gaps in treatment >14 days. Models adjusted for individual demographics, prescribing physician specialty, state, and county-level variables. Results: Overall, 41% of individuals were retained in treatment for at least 6 months and the mean treatment length was 266 days. Compared with individuals who paid primarily for treatment with cash, adjusted odds of 6 month retention were significantly lower for individuals with primary payment from Medicaid fee-for-service, Medicare part D, and third-party commercial. There were substantial differences in 6-month retention across states with the lowest in Arizona and highest in New York. Low-possession ratios occurred for 30% of individuals and 26% experienced treatment episodes with gaps >14 days. Odds of low-possession and treatment gaps were largely similar across demographic groups and geographic areas. Conclusions: Current initiatives to improve access and quality of buprenorphine-naloxone treatment should examine geographic barriers as well as the potential role of insurance benefit design in restricting treatment length.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-676
Number of pages8
JournalMedical care
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017


  • adherence
  • buprenorphine-naloxone
  • opioid use disorder
  • treatment retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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