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Mintzer IL, Eisenberg M, Terra M, MacVane C, Himmelstein DU, Woolhandler S. 
“Treating opioid addiction with buprenorphine-naloxone in community-based primary care settings”. 
Ann Fam Med. 2007;5(2):146-50.

PURPOSE: Office-based treatment of opioid addiction with a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone was approved in 2002. Efficacy of this treatment in non-research clinical settings has not been studied. We examined the efficacy and practicality of buprenorphine-naloxone treatment in primary care settings.

METHODS: We studied a cohort of 99 consecutive patients enrolled in buprenorphine-naloxone treatment for opioid dependence at 2 urban primary care practices: a hospital-based primary care clinic, and a primary care practice in a free-standing neighborhood health center. The primary outcome measure was sobriety at 6 months as judged by the treating physician based on periodic urine drug tests, as well as frequent physical examinations and questioning of the patients about substance use.

RESULTS: Fifty-four percent of patients were sober at 6 months. There was no significant correlation between sobriety and site of care, drug of choice, neighborhood poverty level, or dose of buprenorphine-naloxone. Sobriety was correlated with private insurance status, older age, length of treatment, and attending self-help meetings. CONCLUSIONS: Opioid-addicted patients can be safely and effectively treated in non-research primary care settings with limited on-site resources. Our findings suggest that greater numbers of patients should have access to buprenorphine-naloxone treatment in nonspecialized settings.
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