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Postoperative buprenorphine continuation in stabilized buprenorphine patients: a population cohort study


Background and Aims — Sudden discontinuation of buprenorphine in the treatment of opioid use disorder can increase the risk of subsequent relapse and overdose. Little is known about buprenorphine use in the perioperative period. The aim of this study was to determine the rate of buprenorphine continuation after hospital discharge following surgery and factors associated with continuation.

Design — A population-based retrospective cohort study was conducted using administrative data from Ontario, Canada, between 2012 and 2018. The cohort included individuals on continuous buprenorphine prior to surgery. Logistic regression modeling was used to estimate the association of buprenorphine continuation with demographic, opioid agonist treatment, surgical and health service use factors.

Setting — Administrative databases from Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) were used, which capture the Ontario, Canada, population. The data sets describe physician billing, monitoring of controlled substances and hospital discharges.

Participants — Adults (≥ 18 years, n = 2176) had received a buprenorphine/naloxone product continuously for at least 60 days for the treatment of opioid use disorder and subsequently underwent a surgical procedure.

Measurements — Continuation (versus discontinuation) of buprenorphine prescriptions in the 14 days after surgical discharge was recommended. Exposures included demographic, comorbidity, opioid agonist treatment, surgical and health service use characteristics.

Findings — About 176 (8.1%) of the 2176 patients discontinued buprenorphine after surgery. Inpatient surgery (versus ambulatory) was associated with reduced odds of continuation, with an unadjusted odds ratio (OR) of 0.17 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.12–0.25] and an adjusted OR of 0.16 (95% CI = 0.11–0.23) after accounting for age, sex, rural residence, neighborhood income quintile, Charlson comorbidity index, psychiatric hospitalizations in the past 5 years and recent dispensed supply of buprenorphine (number needed to harm of 6.6).

Conclusions — In Ontario, Canada, from 2012 to 2018, most patients receiving continuous preoperative buprenorphine therapy continued buprenorphine use after surgery. Inpatient surgery was a strong predictor of discontinuation compared with ambulatory procedures.



Hauck TS, Ladha KS, Le Foll B, Wijeysundera DN, Kurdyak P. Addiction. 2023; Jun 18 [Epub ahead of print].

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