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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2015 Jan;48(1):70-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2014.06.006. Epub 2014 Jun 28.

Buprenorphine pharmacotherapy and behavioral treatment: comparison of outcomes among prescription opioid users, heroin users and combination users.

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University of New South Wales, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Randwick, NSW, 2031 Australia. Electronic address:
UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA.


Most research examining buprenorphine has been conducted with heroin users. Few studies have examined buprenorphine pharmacotherapy for prescription opioid users. Data were from a randomized controlled trial of behavioral treatment provided for 16weeks on a platform of buprenorphine pharmacotherapy and medication management. We compared heroin (H, n=54), prescription opioid (PO, n=54) and combination heroin+prescription opioid (POH, n=71) users to test the hypothesis that PO users will have better treatment outcomes compared with heroin users. The PO group provided more opioid-negative urine drug screens over the combined treatment period (PO:70%, POH:40%, H:38%, p<0.001) and at the end of the combined treatment period (PO:65%, POH:31%, H:33%, p<0.001). Retention was lowest in the H group (PO:80%, POH:65%, H:57%, p=0.039). There was no significant difference in buprenorphine dose between the groups. PO users appear to have better outcomes in buprenorphine pharmacotherapy compared to those reporting any heroin use, confirming that buprenorphine pharmacotherapy is effective in PO users.


Buprenorphine; Prescription opioid; Treatment

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