Background: Prescription opioid dependence is increasing, but treatment outcomes with office-based buprenorphine/naloxone among these patients have not been described.
Methods: We compared demographic, clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes among 200 patients evaluated for entry into a trial of primary care office-based buprenorphine/naloxone treatment stratifying on those who reported exclusive heroin use (n = 124), heroin and prescription opioid use (n = 47), or only prescription opioid use (n = 29).
Results: Compared to heroin-only patients, prescription-opioid-only patients were younger, had fewer years of opioid use, and less drug treatment history. They were also more likely to be white, earned more income, and were less likely to have Hepatitis C antibodies. Prescription-opioid-only patients were more likely to complete treatment (59% vs. 30%), remained in treatment longer (21.0 vs. 14.2 weeks), and had a higher percent of opioid-negative urine samples than heroin only patients (56.3% vs. 39.8%), all p values < .05. Patients who used both heroin and prescription opioids had outcomes that were intermediate between heroin-only and prescription-opioid-only patients.
Conclusions: Individuals dependent on prescription opioids have an improved treatment response to buprenorphine/naloxone maintenance in an office-based setting compared to those who exclusively or episodically use heroin.