People with opioid use disorder (OUD) who start buprenorphine treatment via telehealth are more likely to stay in treatment longer than those who start treatment in another setting, a new study finds.
Researchers found 48% of people in Kentucky with OUD who started buprenorphine treatment via telehealth remained in treatment for 90 continuous days, compared with 44% whose treatment began in non-telehealth settings, HealthDay reports.
In Ohio, 32% of those who started buprenorphine treatment via telehealth remained in treatment for 90 continuous days, compared with 28% of those who started treatment in non-telehealth settings.
The research was part of the HEALing Communities Study, which is a large addiction prevention and treatment implementation study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
“This study suggests that telehealth may increase treatment access and retention, strengthening the evidence that receiving addiction care through telehealth is to be safe and beneficial, and that it should be made available to those who need it,” NIDA Director Nora Volkow, M.D., said in a news release. “To quell the unprecedented loss of life from the overdose crisis, we must continue to prioritize both increasing access to treatment and providing the care and support people need to stay in treatment after they have started.”