Across the United States, nearly 2 million people suffer from an opioid use disorder (OUD) related to prescription opioids and almost 600,000 have an OUD related to heroin, yet many of these people do not receive treatment. One common treatment option involves the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT)—such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Other individuals receive counseling only. However, few studies have been conducted in a real-world setting to ascertain the long-term risks, benefits, and outcomes associated with MAT options and with counseling only.
Understanding the outcomes associated with these different types of MAT and with counseling only is crucial. Differences in pharmacological characteristics and routes of administration across medications in addition to characteristics of the client (i.e., patient), provider or treatment site all influence how clients respond to treatment and their long-term treatment success.
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) engaged our experts to lead a study that will answer key questions about OUD treatment options and client outcomes. The information will help health care providers and clients make more informed decisions about OUD treatment options.
Connecting MAT Options with Health Outcomes and Quality of Life
The overarching goal of the Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder study (MAT Study) is to learn how MAT works in the real world. We will explore how MAT success may be influenced by contextual factors—such as client demographics or treatment program characteristics. We hope to learn what types of MAT work best for different types of clients, and why. Our findings may lead to improvements in OUD treatment planning and help more people live free from opioid addiction.
To build these understandings, we are gathering information from more than 50 treatment facilities and over 3,500 clients.
The MAT Study will answer key questions about
- Outcomes associated with treatment using methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone, as well as counseling without medication
- Treatment program factors associated with positive outcomes
- Client characteristics associated with positive outcomes
- Improvements in health-related quality of life for clients.
The research team will track clients for 24 months starting with their entry into an OUD treatment program. We will learn about their current and subsequent treatments, as well as key indicators of well-being: physical and emotional health status, detox/withdrawals, overdoses and use of naloxone, emergency room and hospital visits, criminal behavior, employment, income, and housing. Participants will receive compensation for survey completion.
We will also lead focus groups with staff members at participating facilities to collect qualitative data about their experience providing treatment for OUD.
Improving Decisions about Opioid Treatment for a Nation
After data collection is completed, statistical reports based on MAT Study data will be disseminated in CDC reports, professional journals, presentations at professional meetings, and provider education materials. The information will help treatment providers and clients make more informed choices in selecting the treatment program that is best for the individual.
Ultimately, we hope our efforts will give providers and clients a better chance of breaking the cycle of addiction and stemming the tide of America’s opioid epidemic.