Methadone vs. Buprenorphine for In-Hospital Initiation: Which Is Better for Outpatient Care Retention in Patients with Opioid Use Disorder?

Skyler H. Kessler, Evan S. Schwarz, David B. Liss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Currently, few hospitals provide medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) to admitted patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). Data are needed to inform whether the choice of medication during hospitalization influences probability of retention in outpatient OUD treatment. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort analysis of patients who received a medical toxicology consult for OUD. Medical records were reviewed to determine if patients received MOUD and were referred to Engaging Patients in Care Coordination (EPICC), a service that connects hospitalized patients with OUD to outpatient care. Patients were stratified by the last form of MOUD they received in the hospital (methadone verses buprenorphine); retention in outpatient treatment was measured at 2 weeks, 30 days, and 12 weeks. The log-rank test was used to determine the difference in probabilities of retention in the methadone and buprenorphine groups. An event was defined as drop-out from outpatient treatment. Results: Of 267 total patients with medical toxicology consults for OUD, 155 received MOUD and referral to EPICC. One hundred six patients received buprenorphine and 46 received methadone. Three additional patients were excluded. The rate of retention in outpatient treatment for patients who received buprenorphine was 37%, 26%, and 13% and for patients who received methadone was 43%, 39%, and 35% at 2 weeks, 30 days, and 12 weeks, respectively. Methadone was associated with a statistically significant increased probability of retention in outpatient treatment as compared to buprenorphine (P < 0.01). Conclusion: Despite the limitations of this retrospective study, in hospitalized patients who received MOUD, the probability of retention in outpatient treatment was higher in patients receiving methadone compared to buprenorphine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Toxicology
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Buprenorphine
  • Medication for addiction treatment
  • Methadone
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Outpatient addiction treatment

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