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Buprenorphine Rx Activity Varies Widely Among Clinicians

TUESDAY, June 8, 2021 -- There is large variation in buprenorphine prescribing, with a small percentage of clinicians accounting for most buprenorphine treatment in the United States, according to a study published in the June 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Bradley D. Stein, M.D., Ph.D., from the RAND Corporation in Pittsburgh, and colleagues used IQVIA prescription data to identify clinicians who prescribed buprenorphine formulations indicated for opioid use disorder at least once between January 2017 and December 2018.

The researchers identified 50,509 active buprenorphine prescribers, composed primarily of primary care physicians (43.8 percent), advanced practice practitioners (20.6 percent), pain specialists (8.0 percent), and psychiatrists (14.7 percent). During the study period, prescribers had active buprenorphine patients for a mean of 10.8 months, with a mean number of 13.8 patients per month. However, half (50 percent) of all patient-months of buprenorphine treatment were prescribed by the most active 4.9 percent of prescribers (2,450), who treated a mean of 124.2 patients per month.

"Targeted efforts to support those willing to effectively and safely treat more patients have the potential to increase buprenorphine treatment capacity," the authors write.

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