Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Dual Abuse Concerns May Hinder Buprenorphine TX

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Dual Abuse Concerns May Hinder Buprenorphine TX

Article excerpt

CHICAGO -- The fear that opioid-addicted patients may co-use other substances while receiving buprenorphine therapy may be keeping some physicians who are authorized to prescribe the drug for opioid addiction from setting up office-based treatment programs, according to LeChauncy Woodard, M.D.

Since October 2002, physicians have been allowed to apply for waivers of the special registration requirements defined in the Controlled Substances Act to prescribe buprenorphine in treatment settings other than a traditional opioid treatment program.

"However, physicians have been reluctant to embrace this treatment option, possibly due to concerns regarding use of other illicit substances among patients who abuse pain relievers," said Dr. Woodard of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

To estimate the prevalence of substance co-use among abusers of prescription analgesics, Dr. Woodard and her colleagues reviewed data from the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, which showed that about 2.9% of Americans reported nonmedical use of pain relievers during the prior year, and 93% of those pain relievers were opioid analgesics.

Among users of prescription pain relievers, 23% reported heavy alcohol use, 46% reported using marijuana, and 46% reported co-using other illicit substances, Dr. Woodard reported at the annual meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine.

Heavy use of alcohol was defined as having five or more drinks five times within the month prior to the survey. …

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