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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2014 Apr;46(4):456-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2013.10.014. Epub 2013 Nov 12.

Relationship between buprenorphine adherence and health service utilization and costs among opioid dependent patients.

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Health Analytics, LLC, 9200 Rumsey Road, Suite 215, Columbia, MD 21045, USA. Electronic address:
Institute of Addiction Medicine, 1000 Germantown Pike, Suite H2, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462, USA.
Aetna Behavioral Health, 930 Harvest Drive, Mail Stop U32N, Blue Bell, PA 19422, USA.
Health Analytics, LLC, 9200 Rumsey Road, Suite 215, Columbia, MD 21045, USA.


Buprenorphine-medication assisted therapy (B-MAT) is an effective treatment for opioid dependence, but may be considered cost-prohibitive based on ingredient cost alone. The purpose of this study was to use medical and pharmacy claims data to estimate the healthcare service utilization and costs associated with B-MAT adherence among a sample of opioid dependent members. Members were placed into two adherence groups based on 1-year medication possession ratio (≥ 0.80 vs. <0.80). The B-MAT adherent group incurred significantly higher pharmacy charges (adjusted means; $6,156 vs. $3,581), but lower outpatient ($9,288 vs. $14,570), inpatient ($10,982 vs. $26,470), ER ($1,891 vs. $4,439), and total healthcare charges ($28,458 vs. $49,051; p<0.01) compared to non-adherent members. Adherence effects were confirmed in general linear models. Though B-MAT adherence requires increased pharmacy utilization, adherent individuals were shown to use fewer expensive health care services, resulting in overall reduced healthcare expenditure compared to non-adherent patients.


Adherence; Buprenorphine; Dependence; Opiate; Opioid; Pharmacoeconomics

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