Potential barriers to filling buprenorphine and naltrexone prescriptions among a retrospective cohort of individuals with opioid use disorder.


It is alarming that nearly 1 in 3 MOUD prescriptions go unfilled. More research is needed to understand and reduce barriers to this final step of the OUD cascade of care.

We identified 264 individuals with a new diagnosis of OUD who had a prescription written for buprenorphine or oral naltrexone. Of these, 70% (184) filled the prescription within 30 days, and more than half (57%) filled the prescription on the day it was written. Individuals with prescription copay at or below the mean had a 75% fill rate at 30 days compared with 63% for those with copay above the mean (p < 0.05) and this difference was consistent across fill times (log rank p-value <0.05).

Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are highly effective, but barriers along the cascade of care for opioid use disorder (OUD) from diagnosis to treatment limit their reach. For individuals desiring MOUD, the final step in the cascade is filling a written prescription, and fill rates have not been described.

We used data from a large de-identified database linking individuals' electronic medical records (EMR) and administrative claims data and employed a previously developed algorithm to identify individuals with a new diagnosis of OUD. We included individuals with a prescription for buprenorphine or naltrexone recorded in the EMR. The outcome was a prescription fill within 30 days as reported in claims data. We compared demographic and clinical characteristics between those who did and did not fill the prescription and used a Kaplan-Meier curve to assess whether fill rates differed based on patient copay.

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