Further Evidence for Medication Assisted Treatment

In addition to the clinical and operational steps Massachusetts hospitals are taking to fight opioid use disorder, the research they are conducting is helping to inform national action on the issue.

Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction last week had an important study published in Annals of Internal Medicine detailing how the use of two FDA-approved medications – methadone and buprenorphine – can save lives. Specifically, those who survived an opioid overdose had a greater chance of staying alive if they receive methadone or buprenorphine. Those who don’t receive these medications in their continuing treatment after an overdose have a much greater chance of dying, according to the study.

Unfortunately, the authors found, only about three of 10 opioid overdose survivors receive methadone and buprenorphine. The authors suggest potential care delivery reforms to improve access to effective treatment. These include getting more providers in emergency and inpatient settings trained and waivered to prescribe these medications, as well as having better access to linking these patients with primary care physicians trained to care for them.