DOI: 10.1101/19006163Sep 9, 2019Paper

Rise and Regional Disparities in Buprenorphine Utilization in the United States

MedRxiv : the Preprint Server for Health Sciences
A. A. R. PashminehBrian J Piper


Aims: Buprenorphine is an opioid partial-agonist used to treat Opioid Use Disorders (OUD). While several state and federal policy changes have attempted to increase buprenorphine availability, access remains well below optimal levels. This study characterized how buprenorphine utilization in the United States has changed over time and whether there are regional disparities in distribution. Measurements: Buprenorphine weights distributed from 2007 to 2017 were obtained from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Data was expressed as the percent change and as the mg per person in each state. Separately, the formulations for prescriptions covered by Medicaid (2008 to 2018) were examined. Findings: Buprenorphine distributed to pharmacies increased about seven-fold (476.8 to 3,179.9 kg) while the quantities distributed to hospitals grew five-fold (18.6 to 97.6 kg) nationally from 2007 to 2017. Buprenorphine distribution per person was almost 20-fold higher in Vermont (40.4 mg/person) relative to South Dakota (2.1 mg/person). There was a strong association between the number of waivered physicians per 100K population and distribution per state (r(49) = +0.76, p < .0005). The buprenorphine/naloxone sublingual film (Suboxone) was the pr...Continue Reading

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