OBJECTIVES: The buprenorphine/naloxone combination has been available in a
film formulation for the treatment of opioid dependence since 2010. A clinical trial
showed that patients preferred the film to tablet formulation. Insurance claims
data were analysed to compare patient persistence with the two formulations.
METHODS: A retrospective cohort analysis was performed using medical insurance
claim records extracted from the Invision Datamart database. Previously untreated
patients who initiated treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone following
the launch of film were classified in two groups according to formulation of initial
prescription. Persistence was defined as the proportion of patients continuing
treatment for at least 6 months, with possible change in formulation. RESULTS:
The film and tablet groups included 1095 and 1048 patients respectively, enrolled
over 6.45 and 8.68 months from initiation of buprenorphine/naloxone on average.
Patient characteristics were similar between groups. In the tablet group, 12.40% of
patients switched to film after 44.5 days on average. Of the patients on film, 2.74%
switched to tablet. Mean prescribed doses were 15.37 and 14.33 mg/day in film and
tablet groups. Among patients enrolled for at least 6 months from buprenorphine/
naloxone initiation, persistence rates were 63.02% in film group vs. 57.97% with
tablet. The time to treatment discontinuation was longer in the film group, with a
hazard ratio of 0.754 (p.0002) adjusted on age, gender, region, health plan category,
co-payment proportion, and dose. CONCLUSIONS: Patients started on buprenorphine/naloxone film formulation are more likely to stay on treatment than
patients treated with tablet formulation.