Opioid Resource Center

Opioid Resource Center

April 21, 2020
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One-third of PCPs question efficacy of medications for opioid use disorder

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Beth McGinty
Beth McGinty

In a recent survey, about one-third of primary care physicians felt that medications for opioid use disorder such as buprenorphine were no more effective than nonmedication treatments, despite evidence supporting their use as the “gold standard” treatment, researchers said.

“We wanted to understand primary care physicians’ views about treating opioid use disorder (OUD) with medication,” Beth McGinty, PhD, associate professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Healio Primary Care.

McGinty and colleagues analyzed responses from 336 PCPs from the AMA’s Physician Masterfile who answered questions about OUD treatment. The findings, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that:

  • 61.7% believed that treatment of OUD is more effective with medication than without;
  • 63.7% felt patients should use medication to manage OUD;
  • 20.2% expressed an interest in treating patients with the condition;
  • 11.8% wished to obtain a buprenorphine waiver;
  • 81.8% supported increasing insurance coverage of OUD treatment;
  • 47.7% felt physicians should prescribe methadone for the condition in primary care settings; and
  • 38% endorsed removing the buprenorphine waiver requirement.
McGinty EE, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2020;doi:10.7326/M19-3975.

McGinty said there is the “big push nationwide to do a much better job integrating addiction treatment into the general medical system.” Additionally, she said, the findings from the survey underscore the need to incorporate training in the primary care setting for addiction treatment — including but not limited to OUD. – by Janel Miller

Disclosures: McGinty reports receiving professional relationships with the Bipartisan Policy Center, CDC, Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, the United States Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the United Nations. No other relevant financial disclosures were reported.