Pharmacists' and technicians' perceptions and attitudes toward dispensing buprenorphine/ naloxone to patients with opioid dependence

Dennis W Raisch, Paul J Fudala, Andrew J Saxon, Robert Walsh, Paul Casadonte, Walter Ling, Bankole A Johnson, Usha Malkerneker, Patricia Ordorica, William O Williford, Mike R Sather
Journal of the American Pharmacists Association: JAPhA 2005, 45 (1): 23-32

OBJECTIVE: To assess the perceptions and attitudes of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians involved in an office-based opioid dependence treatment program using buprenorphine/naloxone.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional attitudinal assessment.

SETTING: Community, outpatient hospital, and clinic pharmacies.

PARTICIPANTS: Pharmacists and technicians participating in a clinical trial of opioid dependence treatment using buprenorphine/naloxone.

INTERVENTION: Written and telephone surveys followed by interviews with open-ended items.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Attitudes and perceptions regarding opioid-dependent patients and use of buprenorphine/naloxone for treatment of opioid dependence.

RESULTS: Pharmacies in seven states (New York, Virginia, Illinois, Florida, Texas, California, and Washington) participated in the clinical trial. A total of 40 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians responded to the initial written survey, representing 27 of the 32 pharmacies (84%). Follow-up interviews were obtained from one individual at 30 of those pharmacies (93.8%). Most pharmacy personnel (77.5%) involved with this study were not more concerned about theft or break-ins and would be willing to participate in opioid dependence treatment as the medication became available commercially (70%). The majority of respondents (85%) indicated that patients did not cause problems at their pharmacies. Compared with their experiences in administering other narcotic medications, most respondents did not express increased concern regarding prescription forgery (75%) or diversion (80%) of buprenorphine/naloxone.

CONCLUSION: The majority of respondents expressed positive attitudes and perceptions regarding patients treated for opioid dependence with buprenorphine/naloxone.

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