Few studies have described improvement in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) associated with opioid dependence treatment with buprenorphine (ODT-B).
To evaluate HRQOL changes in domain scores, physical and mental component summaries, and health utilities (HUs) associated with ODT-B using the Short Form 36 (SF-36).
We assessed HRQOL changes in a substudy of a pharmacokinetic study that compared buprenorphine oral tablet and liquid dosage formulations over 16 weeks. Individuals, aged 18–65 years, were screened for opioid dependence. They were excluded if they would not agree to birth control or had a serious medical condition. Subjects received psychosocial counseling and weekly group therapy. The SF-36 was administered upon enrollment and at 4-week intervals. We used the SF-6D to estimate HUs. We performed intention to treat (ITT) analyses based on the last observation available for each subject. Paired t tests of each domain and HU, limited to remaining patients at each 4-week interval, were also conducted.
Of 96 subjects enrolled, cumulative dropouts over time resulted in 80, 69, 59, and 44 subjects remaining at 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks. There were no significant differences in opioid-positive urines, dropout rates, or dosage changes between formulations. In the ITT analyses, HRQOL improvements over time were bodily pain (62.1 vs. 69.1, P = 0.017), vitality (49.8 vs. 56.5, P = 0.001), mental health (59.9 vs. 66.0, P = 0.001), social function (66.4 vs. 74.7, P = 0.001), role emotional (59.4 vs. 71.9, P = 0.003), role physical (60.9 vs. 70.6, P = 0.005), and mental component summary (41.9 vs. 45.4, P<0.001). HU scores also improved (0.674 vs. 0.715, P = 0.001). Results from paired t tests, with only concurrently enrolled patients, showed similar improvements from baseline to 4, 8, 12, or 16 weeks.
Buprenorphine, accompanied with psychosocial counseling, was associated with improved HRQOL and HUs.