Patient characteristics associated with buprenorphine/naloxone treatment outcome for prescription opioid dependence: Results from a multisite study

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Jul 1;131(1-2):112-8. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.12.010. Epub 2013 Jan 18.


Background: Prescription opioid dependence is a growing problem, but little research exists on its treatment, including patient characteristics that predict treatment outcome.

Methods: A secondary analysis of data from a large multisite, randomized clinical trial, the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment Study (POATS) was undertaken to examine baseline patient characteristics (N=360) associated with success during 12-week buprenorphine/naloxone treatment for prescription opioid dependence. Baseline predictor variables included self-reported demographic and opioid use history information, diagnoses assessed via the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, and historical opioid use and related information from the Pain And Opiate Analgesic Use History.

Results: In bivariate analyses, pre-treatment characteristics associated with successful opioid use outcome included older age, past-year or lifetime diagnosis of major depressive disorder, initially obtaining opioids with a medical prescription to relieve pain, having only used opioids by swallowing or sublingual administration, never having used heroin, using an opioid other than extended-release oxycodone most frequently, and no prior opioid dependence treatment. In multivariate analysis, age, lifetime major depressive disorder, having only used opioids by swallowing or sublingual administration, and receiving no prior opioid dependence treatment remained as significant predictors of successful outcome.

Conclusions: This is the first study to examine characteristics associated with treatment outcome in patients dependent exclusively on prescription opioids. Characteristics associated with successful outcome after 12 weeks of buprenorphine/naloxone treatment include some that have previously been found to predict heroin-dependent patients' response to methadone treatment and some specific to prescription opioid-dependent patients receiving buprenorphine/naloxone.

Trial registration: NCT00316277.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Buprenorphine / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Naloxone / administration & dosage*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Prescription Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Naloxone
  • Buprenorphine

Associated data