Buprenorphine/Naloxone Rx Fills Up With Medicaid Expansion

Significant increase in buprenorphine with naloxone fills per 100,000 county residents in expansion areas.
Significant increase in buprenorphine with naloxone fills per 100,000 county residents in expansion areas.

HealthDay News — There was an increase in buprenorphine with naloxone fills in expansion vs nonexpansion counties after Medicaid expansion, according to a study published online August 17 in JAMA Network Open.

Brendan Saloner, PhD, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues examined changes in prescriptions of buprenorphine with naloxone and opioid pain relievers (OPRs) after the US Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion. The sample included 11.9 million individuals who filled two or more prescriptions for a prescription opioid during one year between 2010 and 2015 from expansion states and non-expansion states. 

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The researchers found that 68.8 individuals per 100,000 county residents filled buprenorphine with naloxone and 5,298.3 filled OPR prescriptions in expansion counties in 2010. After expansion, there was a significant increase in buprenorphine with naloxone fills per 100,000 county residents in expansion vs non-expansion counties (8.7). There was no significant change in expansion counties versus non-expansion counties in OPR fills per 100,000 county residents (327.4; 95% confidence interval −202.5 to 857.4). There was a significant increase in the rate of OPRs per 100,000 county residents paid for by Medicaid (374). After expansion, no significant change was seen in the days per 100,000 county residents of either medication.

"Medicaid expansion significantly increased buprenorphine with naloxone prescriptions per 100,000 county residents in expansion counties, suggesting that expansion improved access to opioid use disorder treatment," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the health information and health care consultancy industries.

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