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Consistent adherence to guidelines improves opioid dependent patients' first year outcomes.

Trafton JA, Humphreys K, Harris AH, Oliva E. Consistent adherence to guidelines improves opioid dependent patients' first year outcomes. The journal of behavioral health services & research. 2007 Jul 1; 34(3):260-71.

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Clinical practice guidelines for opioid substitution treatment (OST) for opioid dependence recommend that patients receive at least 60 mg daily methadone and have access to a broad array of psychosocial services. However, there is still wide variation in clinical practice in OST clinics. In real-world settings, patients could receive lower methadone doses and less psychosocial care because they require less intensive care for recovery; alternatively, barriers to delivery of guideline concordant care could limit treatment received and impair recovery. The Multisite Opioid Substitution Treatment (MOST) study examines the impact of more consistent adherence to guideline recommendations in eight Veterans Affairs OST clinics. While patients at all clinics demonstrated improvements in substance use over the first year in treatment, patients at clinics that more consistently adhered to guidelines had greater reductions in heroin and cocaine use and greater improvement in mental health. These results suggest that efforts to increase guideline adherence in OST will improve patient outcomes.

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