Comparison of Treatment Options for Refractory Opioid Use Disorder in the United States and Canada: a Narrative Review.
J Gen Intern Med. 2020 May 27;:
Authors: Kimmel S, Bach P, Walley AY
Amidst the opioid overdose crisis, there are increased efforts to expand access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). Hospitalization for the complications of substance use in the United States (US) provides an opportunity to initiate methadone, buprenorphine, and extended release naltrexone and link high-risk, not otherwise engaged, patients into outpatient care. However, treatment options for patients are quickly exhausted when these medications are not desired, tolerated, or beneficial. As an example, we discuss the case of a man who was hospitalized 27 times over 2 years for complications related to his opioid use disorder (OUD), including recurring methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus vertebral osteomyelitis, increasing antimicrobial resistance, new infections, and multiple overdoses in and out of the hospital. The patient suffered these complications despite efforts to treat his OUD with methadone and buprenorphine while hospitalized, and repeated attempts to link him to outpatient care. We use this case to review evidence-based treatments for refractory OUD, which are not approved in the US, but are available in Canada. If hospitalized in Vancouver, Canada, this patient could have been offered slow-release oral morphine and injectable opioid agonist therapy, as well as access to sterile syringes and injection equipment at an in-hospital supervised injection facility. Each of these approaches is supported by evidence and has been implemented successfully in Canada, yet none are available in the US. In order to combat the multiple harms from opioids, it is critical that we consider every evidence-based tool.
PMID: 32462569 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]