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Associations Between Distinct Co-occurring Substance Use Disorders and Receipt of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder in the Veterans Health Administration.

Frost MC, Hawkins EJ, Glass JE, Hallgren KA, Williams EC. Associations Between Distinct Co-occurring Substance Use Disorders and Receipt of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder in the Veterans Health Administration. Journal of addiction medicine. 2023 May 1; 17(3):278-285.

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OBJECTIVES: Among people with opioid use disorder (OUD), having a co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD) is associated with lower likelihood of receiving OUD treatment medications (MOUD). However, it is unclear how distinct co-occurring SUDs are associated with MOUD receipt. This study examined associations of distinct co-occurring SUDs with initiation and continuation of MOUD among patients with OUD in the national Veterans Health Administration (VA). METHODS: Electronic health record data were extracted for outpatients with OUD who received care August 1, 2016, to July 31, 2017. Analyses were conducted separately among patients without and with prior-year MOUD receipt to examine initiation and continuation, respectively. SUDs were measured using diagnostic codes; MOUD receipt was measured using prescription fills/clinic visits. Adjusted regression models estimated likelihood of following-year MOUD receipt for patients with each co-occurring SUD relative to those without. RESULTS: Among 23,990 patients without prior-year MOUD receipt, 12% initiated in the following year. Alcohol use disorder (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR], 0.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.72-0.90) and cannabis use disorder (aIRR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.70-0.87) were negatively associated with initiation. Among 11,854 patients with prior-year MOUD receipt, 83% continued in the following year. Alcohol use disorder (aIRR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.91-0.97), amphetamine/other stimulant use disorder (aIRR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.90-0.99), and cannabis use disorder (aIRR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.93-0.98) were negatively associated with continuation. CONCLUSIONS: In this study of national VA outpatients with OUD, those with certain co-occurring SUDs were less likely to initiate or continue MOUD. Further research is needed to identify barriers related to specific co-occurring SUDs.

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