Provider and Patient-panel Characteristics Associated With Initial Adoption and Sustained Prescribing of Medication for Opioid Use Disorder

J Addict Med. 2022 Mar-Apr;16(2):e87-e96. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000859.


Objectives: Limited information is available regarding provider- and patient panel-level factors associated with primary care provider (PCP) adoption/prescribing of medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD).

Methods: We assessed a retrospective cohort from 2015 to 2018 within the Pennsylvania Medicaid Program. Participants included PCPs who were Medicaid providers, with no history of MOUD provision, and who treated ≥10 Medicaid enrollees annually. We assessed initial MOUD adoption, defined as an index buprenorphine/buprenorphine-naloxone or oral/extended release naltrexone fill and sustained prescribing, defined as ≥1 MOUD prescription(s) for 3 consecutive quarters from the PCP. Independent variables included provider- and patient panel-level characteristics.

Results: We identified 113 rural and 782 urban PCPs who engaged in initial adoption and 36 rural and 288 urban PCPs who engaged in sustained prescribing. Rural/urban PCPs who issued increasingly larger numbers of antidepressant and antipsychotic medication prescriptions had greater odds of initial adoption and sustained prescribing (P < 0.05) compared to those that did not prescribe these medications. Further, each additional patient out of 100 with opioid use disorder diagnosed before MOUD adoption increased the adjusted odds for initial adoption 2% to 4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.01-1.08) and sustained prescribing by 4% to 7% (95% CI = 1.01-1.08). New Medicaid providers in rural areas were 2.52 (95% CI = 1.04-6.11) and in urban areas were 2.66 (95% CI = 1.94, 3.64) more likely to engage in initial MOUD adoption compared to established PCPs.

Conclusions: MOUD prescribing adoption was concentrated among PCPs prescribing mental health medications, caring for those with OUD, and new Medicaid providers. These results should be leveraged to test/implement interventions targeting MOUD adoption among PCPs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Buprenorphine, Naloxone Drug Combination / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Medicaid
  • Naltrexone / therapeutic use
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States


  • Buprenorphine, Naloxone Drug Combination
  • Naltrexone