Buprenorphine pharmacotherapy and behavioral treatment: Comparison of outcomes among prescription opioid users, heroin users and combination users

Suzanne Nielsen, Maureen Hillhouse, Larissa Mooney, Alfonso Ang, Walter Ling

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Most research examining buprenorphine has been conducted with heroin users. Few studies have examined buprenorphine pharmacotherapy for prescription opioid users. Data were from a randomized controlled trial of behavioral treatment provided for 16. weeks on a platform of buprenorphine pharmacotherapy and medication management. We compared heroin (H, n= 54), prescription opioid (PO, n= 54) and combination heroin. +. prescription opioid (POH, n= 71) users to test the hypothesis that PO users will have better treatment outcomes compared with heroin users. The PO group provided more opioid-negative urine drug screens over the combined treatment period (PO:70%, POH:40%, H:38%, p<. 0.001) and at the end of the combined treatment period (PO:65%, POH:31%, H:33%, p<. 0.001). Retention was lowest in the H group (PO:80%, POH:65%, H:57%, p= 0.039). There was no significant difference in buprenorphine dose between the groups. PO users appear to have better outcomes in buprenorphine pharmacotherapy compared to those reporting any heroin use, confirming that buprenorphine pharmacotherapy is effective in PO users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-76
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Buprenorphine
  • Prescription opioid
  • Treatment

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