Beyond Antibiotics: A Practical Guide for the Infectious Disease Physician to Treat Opioid Use Disorder in the Setting of Associated Infectious Diseases

Open Forum Infect Dis. 2019 Dec 24;7(1):ofz539. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofz539. eCollection 2020 Jan.


Infections are a common cause of hospitalization for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD), and hospital admissions are rising in the context of the worsening US opioid crisis. Infectious disease (ID) physicians are frequently the first point of medical contact for these patients. In this article, we discuss the integration of evidence-based management of OUD and patient-centered care of hospitalized persons with acute injection-related infections. We describe the following components of a comprehensive approach for OUD with inpatient ID consultations: (1) how to screen for OUD; (2) how to initiate the 3 US Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for OUD (buprenorphine, methadone, and extended-release naltrexone); (3) how to manage acute pain and opioid-related conditions; and (4) how to link and integrate ID and OUD treatment after hospital discharge. These strategies reduce unplanned discharges and increase completion of recommended antimicrobial regimens.

Keywords: addition-related infections; buprenorphine; opioids; outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy (OPAT); substance use.

Publication types

  • Review