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Cost-effectiveness of Increasing Buprenorphine Treatment Initiation, Duration, and Capacity Among Individuals Who Use Opioids.

Claypool AL, DiGennaro C, Russell WA, Yildirim MF, Zhang AF, Reid Z, Stringfellow EJ, Bearnot B, Schackman BR, Humphreys K, Jalali MS. Cost-effectiveness of Increasing Buprenorphine Treatment Initiation, Duration, and Capacity Among Individuals Who Use Opioids. JAMA health forum. 2023 May 5; 4(5):e231080.

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IMPORTANCE: Buprenorphine is an effective and cost-effective medication to treat opioid use disorder (OUD), but is not readily available to many people with OUD in the US. The current cost-effectiveness literature does not consider interventions that concurrently increase buprenorphine initiation, duration, and capacity. OBJECTIVE: To conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis and compare interventions associated with increased buprenorphine treatment initiation, duration, and capacity. DESIGN AND SETTING: This study modeled the effects of 5 interventions individually and in combination using SOURCE, a recent system dynamics model of prescription opioid and illicit opioid use, treatment, and remission, calibrated to US data from 1999 to 2020. The analysis was run during a 12-year time horizon from 2021 to 2032, with lifetime follow-up. A probabilistic sensitivity analysis on intervention effectiveness and costs was conducted. Analyses were performed from April 2021 through March 2023. Modeled participants included people with opioid misuse and OUD in the US. INTERVENTIONS: Interventions included emergency department buprenorphine initiation, contingency management, psychotherapy, telehealth, and expansion of hub-and-spoke narcotic treatment programs, individually and in combination. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Total national opioid overdose deaths, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained, and costs from the societal and health care perspective. RESULTS: Projections showed that contingency management expansion would avert 3530 opioid overdose deaths over 12 years, more than any other single-intervention strategy. Interventions that increased buprenorphine treatment duration initially were associated with an increased number of opioid overdose deaths in the absence of expanded treatment capacity. With an incremental cost- effectiveness ratio of $19?381 per QALY gained (2021 USD), the strategy that expanded contingency management, hub-and-spoke training, emergency department initiation, and telehealth was the preferred strategy for any willingness-to-pay threshold from $20?000 to $200?000/QALY gained, as it was associated with increased treatment duration and capacity simultaneously. CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: This modeling analysis simulated the effects of implementing several intervention strategies across the buprenorphine cascade of care and found that strategies that were concurrently associated with increased buprenorphine treatment initiation, duration, and capacity were cost-effective.

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