Patient perspectives on buprenorphine/naloxone treatment in the context of HIV care

James E Egan, Julie Netherland, Jonathon Gass, Ruth Finkelstein, Linda Weiss
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: JAIDS 2011 March 1, 56 Suppl 1: S46-53

BACKGROUND: Research has shown that buprenorphine/naloxone (bup/nx) is a safe and effective treatment for opioid dependence. Few reports, however, describe the patient perspective on bup/nx treatment and its integration into HIV care settings.

METHODS: We conducted qualitative interviews with 33 patients to further investigate patient satisfaction and experience with bup/nx treatment and integrated care. Interviews focused on drug use/cessation history; attitudes toward and satisfaction with bup/nx treatment; and perspectives on integrated bup/nx treatment and HIV care.

RESULTS: Patients were overwhelmingly satisfied with the pharmacologic effects and treatment outcomes of bup/nx, including effectiveness in blocking cravings and controlling opioid use; decreased fear of withdrawal and/or missing doses; and an overall improvement in quality of life. Patients also described being more engaged with both their substance abuse treatment and HIV care, including greater ability to manage their own treatment, keep, appointments, and adhere to antiretroviral medication regimes. Counseling was seen by some patients as an important component of bup/nx treatment. Nearly all were positive about their experience with integrated care, appreciative of an improved drug treatment environment, convenience, and quality of care.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that patients report bup/nx to be a viable treatment and many prefer it to other opioid replacement therapies.

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