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Treatment Retention Among Patients Randomized to Buprenorphine/Naloxone Compared to Methadone in a Multi-Site Trial.

Addiction 2014;109(1):79-87. [doi: 10.1111/add.12333]

Yih-Ing Hser, PhD (Integrated Substance Abuse Programs (ISAP), UCLA, PR Node), Andrew J. Saxon, MD (VA Puget Sound, PN Node), David Huang, PhD (ISAP, UCLA, PR Node), Albert Hasson, MSW (ISAP, UCLA, PR Node), Christie Thomas, MPH (ISAP, UCLA, PR Node), Maureen Hillhouse, PhD (ISAP, UCLA, PR Node), Petra Jacobs, MD (National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)), Cheryl Teruya, PhD (ISAP, UCLA, PR Node), Paul McLaughlin, MA (Hartford Dispensary, NEC Node), Katharina Wiest, PhD (CODA, Inc., WS Node), Walter Ling, MD (ISAP, UCLA, PR Node).

This secondary analysis of data from National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network protocol CTN-0027 ("Starting Treatment with Agonist Replacement Therapies (START)") is the first large scale randomized trial that provides the opportunity to compare the treatment retention of participants on buprenorphine and methadone in community treatment programs in the U.S. It examined patient and medication characteristics associated with retention and continued illicit opioid use in methadone (MET) versus buprenorphine/naloxone (BUP) treatment for opioid dependence. The analysis included 1,267 opioid-dependent individuals participating in 9 opioid treatment programs between 2006 and 2009 and randomized to receive open-label BUP or MET for 24 weeks. The analyses included measures of patient characteristics at baseline (demographics; use of alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drugs; self-rated mental and physical health), medication dose and urine drug screens during treatment, and treatment completion and days in treatment during the 24 week trial. The treatment completion rate was 74% for MET vs. 46% for BUP; the rate among MET participants increased to 80% when the maximum MET dose reached or exceeded 60mg/day. With BUP, the completion rate increased linearly with higher doses, reaching 60% with doses of 30-32mg/day. Of those remaining in treatment, positive opioid urine results were significantly lower among BUP relative to MET participants during the first 9 weeks of treatment. Higher medication dose was related to lower opiate use, more so among BUP patients. A Cox proportional hazards model revealed factors associated with dropout: (1) BUP (vs. MET), (2) lower medication dose (<16mg for BUP, <60mg for MET), (3) the interaction of dose and treatment condition (those with higher BUP dose were 1.04 times more likely to drop out than those with lower MET dose, and (4) being younger, Hispanic, and using heroin or other substances during treatment.

Conclusions: Provision of methadone appears to be associated with better retention in treatment for opioid dependence than buprenorphine, as does provision of higher doses of both medications. Provision of buprenorphine is associated with lower continued use of illicit opioids. The high dropout rates at the early phase of buprenorphine treatment suggest the need for early interventions to increase retention for BUP patients. Further study of factors/strategies influencing buprenorphine dropout is needed. (Article (Peer-Reviewed), PDF, English, 2013)

Keywords: Buprenorphine/Naloxone | Community health services | CTN platform/ancillary study | Methadone maintenance | Opioid dependence | Pharmacological therapy | Retention - Treatment | Suboxone | Addiction (journal)

Document No: 1020, PMID: 23961726, PMCID: PMC3947022.

Submitted by CTN Dissemination Librarians, 8/20/2013.

Cohen, Allan J. search mail
Hasson, Albert search mail
Hillhouse, Maureen search mail
Hser, Yih-Ing search mail
Huang, David search
Jacobs, Petra search mail
Ling, Walter search mail
McLaughlin, Paul search mail
Saxon, Andrew J. search mail
Teruya, Cheryl search mail
Thomas, Christie search mail
Wiest, Katherina search mail
NIDA-CTN-0027 search www
Pacific Region (Lead) search www
Western States (Lead) search www
Delaware Valley search www
New England Consortium search www
Pacific Northwest search www

Supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.
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