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Research Letter
January 21, 2020

Trends in Buprenorphine Treatment in the United States, 2009-2018

Author Affiliations
  • 1Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York
  • 2School of Management, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 3National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA. 2020;323(3):276-277. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.18913

The increase in opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States has focused attention on extending access to medications for opioid use disorder. Among the 3 medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, buprenorphine is widely viewed as offering the greatest opportunity for expanding access. Between 2009-2011 and 2012-2014, US estimates of office-based visits involving buprenorphine prescriptions increased from 1.9 million to 4.3 million.1 In 2015, an estimated 200 per 100 000 privately insured adults filled at least 1 buprenorphine prescription.2 Yet most individuals with opioid use disorder do not receive treatment, and no general population estimates exist for rates of buprenorphine use. We present trends in US buprenorphine use by demographic groups with estimated length and duration of new treatment episodes.