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J Addict Med. 2010 Dec;4(4):204-10. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e3181cc9610.

Patients' Reasons for Choosing Office-based Buprenorphine: Preference for Patient-Centered Care.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon.



To explore HIV-infected patients' attitudes about buprenorphine treatment in office-based and opioid treatment program (OTP) settings.


We conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with 29 patients with co-existing HIV infection and opioid dependence seeking buprenorphine maintenance therapy in office-based and OTP settings. We used thematic analysis of transcribed audiorecorded interviews to identify themes.


Patients voiced a strong preference for office-based treatment. Four themes emerged to explain this preference. First, patients perceived the greater convenience of office-based treatment as improving their ability to address HIV and other healthcare issues. Second, they perceived a strong patient-focused orientation in patient-provider relationships underpinning their preference for office-based care. This was manifest as increased trust, listening, empathy, and respect from office-based staff and providers. Third, they perceived shared power and responsibility in office-based settings. Finally, patients viewed office-based treatment as a more supportive environment for sobriety and relapse prevention. This was partly due to strong therapeutic alliances with office-based staff and providers who prioritized a harm reduction approach, but also due to the perception that the office-based settings were "safer" for sobriety, compared with increased opportunities for purchasing and using illicit opiates in OTP settings.


HIV-infected patients with opioid dependence preferred office-based buprenorphine because they perceived it as offering a more patient-centered approach to care compared with OTP referral. Office-based buprenorphine may facilitate engagement in care for patients with co-existing opioid dependence and HIV infection.


HIV/AIDS; buprenorphine; opioid-related disorders; patient-centered care; physician-patient relations

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