Post-Detoxification Primary Care Treatment Linked to Reduced Illicit Opioid Use

Linkage to office-based buprenorphine treatment reduced illicit opioid use and increased days of buprenorphine treatment in patients discharged from a short-term detoxification program.

Linkage to an office‐based buprenorphine treatment program following discharge from a short-term managed detoxification program was associated with reduced rates of illicit opioid use in patients with opioid use disorder, as reported in a randomized trial published in Addiction.

Researchers conducted a single-center randomized study of 115 patients with opioid use disorder. Patients in the intervention arm (n=56) received induction therapy with buprenorphine, which consisted of an in-patient dose stabilization phase followed by a postdischarge maintenance phase in a primary care setting. The detoxification program was compared with a standard 5-day buprenorphine managed withdrawal treatment program (n=59). The primary outcome measured was the 30-day mean rate of illicit opioid use. Days of prescribed buprenorphine treatment were also assessed at 1, 3, and 6 months as a secondary outcome measure.

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After analysis, the researchers found that patients in the short-term detoxification program had significantly reduced rates of illicit opioid use at follow-up on day 12 (b statistic, −6.81; P <.001), 35 (b, −8.55; P <.001), 95 (b, −7.34; P <.001), and 185 (b, −3.52; P =.052).

A key limitation of the study was its single-center design, which possibly reduced the logistical barriers that providers and patients at other sites might face.

“This trial demonstrated the effectiveness of offering induction and linkage to buprenorphine maintenance treatment to people seeking brief in-patient withdrawal management,” the researchers concluded.


Stein M, Herman D, Conti M, Anderson B, Bailey G. Initiating buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder during short-term in-patient ‘detoxification’: a randomized clinical trial [published online August 20, 2019]. Addiction. doi:10.1111/add.14737