Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Sep;23(9):1393-8. doi: 10.1007/s11606-008-0686-x.

Office-based management of opioid dependence with buprenorphine: clinical practices and barriers.

Author information

  • 1Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit, Section of General Internal Medicine, Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.



Buprenorphine is a safe, effective and underutilized treatment for opioid dependence that requires special credentialing, known as a waiver, to prescribe in the United States.


To describe buprenorphine clinical practices and barriers among office-based physicians.


Cross-sectional survey.


Two hundred thirty-five office-based physicians waivered to prescribe buprenorphine in Massachusetts.


Questionnaires mailed to all waivered physicians in Massachusetts in October and November 2005 included questions on medical specialty, practice setting, clinical practices, and barriers to prescribing. Logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with prescribing.


Prescribers were 66% of respondents and prescribed to a median of ten patients. Clinical practices included mandatory counseling (79%), drug screening (82%), observed induction (57%), linkage to methadone maintenance (40%), and storing buprenorphine notes separate from other medical records (33%). Most non-prescribers (54%) reported they would prescribe if barriers were reduced. Being a primary care physician compared to a psychiatrist (AOR: 3.02; 95% CI: 1.48-6.18) and solo practice only compared to group practice (AOR: 3.01; 95% CI: 1.23-7.35) were associated with prescribing, while reporting low patient demand (AOR: 0.043, 95% CI: 0.009-0.21) and insufficient institutional support (AOR: 0.37; 95% CI: 0.15-0.89) were associated with not prescribing.


Capacity for increased buprenorphine prescribing exists among physicians who have already obtained a waiver to prescribe. Increased efforts to link waivered physicians with opioid-dependent patients and initiatives to improve institutional support may mitigate barriers to buprenorphine treatment. Several guideline-driven practices have been widely adopted, such as adjunctive counseling and monitoring patients with drug screening.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk