2016 to 2022 Saw Initiation Rate of Buprenorphine Increase, Stabilize

Median monthly retention rate was 22.2 percent during January 2016 through April 2022

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TUESDAY, April 25, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- In the United States, the monthly buprenorphine initiation rate increased from January 2016 through September 2018, then flattened through October 2022, according to a research letter published in the April 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Kao-Ping Chua, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined trends in buprenorphine initiation and retention during 2016 to 2022. Data were included for 93,713,163 buprenorphine prescriptions.

The researchers found that the monthly buprenorphine initiation rate increased from 12.5 to 15.9 per 100,000 during January 2016 through September 2018 (monthly percentage change, 0.62 percent). The slope was flat during October 2018 through October 2022 (monthly percentage change, −0.03 percent). During March 2020 through December 2020, the median monthly buprenorphine initiation rate was slightly lower than during January 2019 through February 2020 and January 2021 through October 2022 (14.4 per 100,000 versus 15.5 and 15.0 per 100,000, respectively). The median monthly retention rate, defined as 180 days or more of continuous buprenorphine treatment without gaps exceeding seven days, was 22.2 percent during January 2016 through April 2022. A minimal increase in the retention rate was seen, without any slope changes (monthly percentage change, 0.08 percent).

"These findings suggest that recent clinical and policy efforts to increase buprenorphine use have been insufficient to meet the need for this medication," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Elana Gotkine

Elana Gotkine

Medically reviewed by Mark Arredondo, M.D.

Published on April 25, 2023

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