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: While research suggests primary prescription opioid (PO) abusers may exhibit less severe demographic and drug use characteristics than primary heroin abusers, less is known about whether a lifetime history of heroin use confers greater severity among PO abusers. In this secondary analysis, we examined demographic and drug use characteristics as a function of lifetime heroin use among 89 PO-dependent adults screened for a trial evaluating the relative efficacy of buprenorphine taper durations. Exploratory analyses also examined contribution of lifetime heroin use to treatment response among a subset of participants who received a uniform set of study procedures. Baseline characteristics were compared between participants reporting lifetime heroin use ≥5 (H(+); n=41) vs. <5 (H(-); n=48) times. Treatment response (i.e., illicit opioid abstinence and treatment retention at end of study) was examined in the subset of H(+) and H(-) participants randomized to receive the 4-week taper condition (N=22). H(+) participants were significantly older and more likely to be male. They reported longer durations of illicit opioid use, greater alcohol-related problems, more past-month cocaine use, greater lifetime IV drug use, and greater lifetime use of cigarettes, amphetamines and hallucinogens. H(+) participants also had lower scores on the Positive Symptom Distress and Depression subscales of the Brief Symptom Inventory. Finally, there was a trend toward poorer treatment outcomes among H(+) participants. A lifetime history of heroin use may be associated with elevated drug severity and unique treatment needs among treatment-seeking PO abusers. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Addictive Behaviors 11/2014; 42C:189-193. DOI:10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.11.006 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Prescription opioid (PO) abuse has become an urgent public health issue in the United States. Detoxification is one important treatment option, yet relatively little is known about the time course and severity of opioid withdrawal during buprenorphine detoxification.Drug and Alcohol Dependence 03/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.02.033 · 3.28 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; DOI:10.1016/j.jsat.2014.08.004 · 3.14 Impact Factor