Ling W, Nadipelli VR, Aldridge AP, Ronquest NA, Solem CT, Chilcoat H, Albright V, Johnson C, Learned SM, Mehra V, Heidbreder C. Recovery from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) after monthly long-acting buprenorphine treatment: 12-month longitudinal outcomes from RECOVER, an observational study. J Addict Med. 2020 Mar 13. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000647.

OBJECTIVES: While evidence has mounted regarding the short-term effectiveness of pharmacotherapy for opioid use disorder (OUD), little is known about longer-term psychosocial, economic, and health outcomes. We report herein 12-month outcomes for an observational study enrolling participants who had previously taken part in a long-acting buprenorphine subcutaneous injection (BUP-XR) trial for moderate to severe OUD.

METHODS: The RECOVER (Remission from Chronic Opioid Use: Studying Environmental and SocioEconomic Factors on Recovery; NCT03604861) study enrolled participants from 35 US community-based sites. Self-reported sustained opioid abstinence over 12 months and self-reported past-week abstinence at 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month visits were assessed. Multiple regression models assessed the association of BUP-XR duration with abstinence, controlling for potential confounders. Withdrawal, pain, health-related quality of life, depression, and employment at RECOVER baseline and 12-month visits were also compared to values collected before treatment in the BUP-XR trial.

RESULTS: Of 533 RECOVER participants, 425 completed the 12-month visit (average age 42 years; 66% male); 50.8% self-reported sustained 12-month and 68.0% past-week opioid abstinence. In multiple regressions, participants receiving 12-month versus ≤2-month BUP-XR treatment duration had significantly higher likelihood of sustained opioid abstinence (75.3% vs 24.1%; P = 0.001), with similar results for past-week self-reported abstinence over time. During RECOVER, participants had fewer withdrawal symptoms, lower pain, positive health-related quality of life, minimal depression, and higher employment versus pre-trial visit.

CONCLUSIONS: RECOVER participants reported positive outcomes over the 12-month observational period, including high opioid abstinence and stable or improved humanistic outcomes. These findings provide insights into the long-term impact of pharmacotherapy in OUD recovery.

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