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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. 2022 Oct 18.
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.