A Comparison of Buprenorphine Taper Outcomes Between Prescription Opioid and Heroin Users.
ABSTRACT OBJECTIVES:: Dependence on prescription opioids (PO) is a growing problem. Although most research with buprenorphine has focused on heroin-dependent populations, we hypothesize that individuals dependent on PO display characteristics that may predict different outcomes in treatment, particularly in short-term taper procedures in which comorbidities such as pain conditions may complicate taper. METHODS:: This secondary data analysis examined differences in outcomes between PO users (n = 90) and heroin users (n = 426) after a buprenorphine taper. Data were collected in a multisite randomized clinical trial conducted by the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network at 11 study sites across the United States. After a 4-week buprenorphine induction/stabilization phase, 516 opioid-dependent individuals were randomized into 1 of 2 taper lengths (7 vs 28 days) to assess the association between taper length and outcome. The primary outcome was measured by urine drug test for opioids at the end of the taper period. Craving, withdrawal, and buprenorphine dose were also examined. RESULTS:: After controlling for baseline demographic and drug use differences between the opioid use groups, results indicate that a higher percentage of the PO group (49%) provided an opioid-free urine drug specimen at the end of taper compared with the heroin group (36%; χ1 = 6.592, P < 0.010). CONCLUSION:: Short-term taper is not recommended as a stand-alone treatment; however, patients may taper from buprenorphine as part of a treatment plan. Despite greater comorbidity, PO users seem to have favorable taper outcomes compared with heroin users. Further studies are required to examine longer-term treatment outcomes.
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ABSTRACT: Most research examining buprenorphine has been conducted with heroin users. Few studies have examined buprenorphine pharmacotherapy for prescription opioid users. Data were from a randomized controlled trial of behavioral treatment provided for 16 weeks on a platform of buprenorphine pharmacotherapy and medication management. We compared heroin (H, n = 54), prescription opioid (PO, n = 54) and combination heroin + prescription opioid (POH, n = 71) users to test the hypothesis that PO users will have better treatment outcomes compared with heroin users. The PO group provided more opioid-negative urine drug screens over the combined treatment period (PO:70%, POH:40%, H:38%, p < 0.001) and at the end of the combined treatment period (PO:65%, POH:31%, H:33%, p < 0.001). Retention was lowest in the H group (PO:80%, POH:65%, H:57%, p = 0.039).There was no significant difference in buprenorphine dose between the groups. PO users appear to have better outcomes in buprenorphine pharmacotherapy compared to those reporting any heroin use, confirming that buprenorphine pharmacotherapy is effective in PO users.Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 01/2014; · 3.14 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Despite the high prevalence of prescription opioid dependence in the U.S., little is known about the course of this disorder and long-term response to treatment. We therefore examined 18-month post-randomization outcomes of participants in the Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment Study, a multi-site, randomized controlled trial examining varying durations of buprenorphine-naloxone treatment and different intensities of counseling for prescription opioid dependence. Thus the current follow-up study provides a unique contribution to the field by reporting longer-term outcomes of a well-characterized population of treatment-seeking prescription opioid dependent patients. Participants from the treatment trial (N = 252/653) completed an 18-month follow-up telephone assessment. Multivariable analyses examined associations between participant characteristics and key indicators of month-18 status: opioid abstinence, DSM-IV opioid dependence, and opioid agonist treatment. Overall, participants showed improvement from baseline to month 18: 49.6% were abstinent in the previous 30 days, with only 16.3% opioid-dependent. Some participants, however, had initiated past-year heroin use (n = 9) or opioid injection (n = 17). Most participants (65.9%) engaged in substance use disorder treatment during the past year, most commonly opioid agonist therapy (48.8%). Of particular interest in this population, multivariable analysis showed that greater pain severity at baseline was associated with opioid dependence at 18 months. In conclusion, although opioid use outcomes during the treatment trial were poor immediately following a buprenorphine-naloxone taper compared to those during 12 weeks of buprenorphine-naloxone stabilization, opioid use outcomes at 18-month follow-up showed substantial improvement over baseline and were comparable to the rate of successful outcomes during buprenorphine-naloxone stabilization in the treatment trial.Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 08/2014; · 3.14 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Prescription drug abuse has reached an epidemic level in the United States. The prevalence of prescription drug abuse escalated rapidly beginning in the late 1990s, requiring a significant increase in research to better understand the nature and treatment of this problem. Since this time, a research literature has begun to develop and has provided important information about how prescription drug abuse is similar to, and different from the abuse of other substances. This introduction to a special issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment on prescription drug abuse provides an overview of the current status of the research literature in this area. The papers in this special issue include a sampling of the latest research on the epidemiology, clinical correlates, treatment, and public policy considerations of prescription drug abuse. Although much has been learned about prescription drug abuse in recent years, this research remains in early stages, particularly with respect to understanding effective treatments for this population. Future research priorities include studies on the interaction of prescription drugs with other licit and illicit substances, the impact of prescription drug abuse across the lifespan, the optimal treatment for prescription drug abuse and co-occurring conditions, and effective public policy initiatives for reducing prescription drug abuse.Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 08/2014; · 3.14 Impact Factor