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1.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 236: 109459, 2022 Jul 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1850939

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We assessed the impact of COVID-19, which includes the declaration of a state of emergency and subsequent release of pandemic-specific OAT guidance (March 17, 2020 to March 23, 2020) on the prevalence of OAT discontinuation. METHODS: We conducted a population-based time series analysis using interventional autoregressive integrated moving average models among Ontario residents who were stable (>60 days of continuous use) and not yet stable on OAT. Specifically, we examined whether COVID-19 impacted the weekly percentage of individuals who discontinued OAT, overall and stratified by treatment type (methadone vs. buprenorphine/naloxone). Additionally, we compared demographic characteristics and patient outcomes among people stable on OAT who discontinued treatment during (March 17, 2020 to November 30, 2020) and prior (July 3, 2019 to March 16, 2020) to the pandemic. RESULTS: The weekly prevalence of OAT discontinuation across the study period ranged between 0.6% and 1.1%, among those stable on treatment compared to 7.3% and 16.6%, among those not stable on treatment. Following COVID-19, there was no significant change in the percentage of Ontarians who discontinued OAT, regardless of whether they were stabilized on treatment. Among those stable on OAT, a similar proportion of patients restarted therapy and experienced opioid-related harm following an OAT discontinuation. However, mortality following OAT discontinuation must be noted, as approximately 1.4% and 0.8% of people who discontinued methadone and buprenorphine/naloxone respectively, died within 30 days of discontinuation. CONCLUSIONS: Trends in the prevalence of OAT discontinuation did not significantly change during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine , COVID-19 , Opioid-Related Disorders , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , Buprenorphine, Naloxone Drug Combination/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Methadone/therapeutic use , Ontario/epidemiology , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , Prevalence , Time Factors
2.
JAMA ; 327(9): 846-855, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1750254

ABSTRACT

Importance: During the COVID-19 pandemic, modified guidance for opioid agonist therapy (OAT) allowed prescribers to increase the number of take-home doses to promote treatment retention. Whether this was associated with an increased risk of overdose is unclear. Objective: To evaluate whether increased take-home doses of OAT early in the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with treatment retention and opioid-related harm. Design, Setting, and Participants: A retrospective propensity-weighted cohort study of 21 297 people actively receiving OAT on March 21, 2020, in Ontario, Canada. Changes in OAT take-home dose frequency were assessed between March 22, 2020, and April 21, 2020, and individuals were observed for up to 180 days to assess outcomes (last date of follow-up, October 18, 2020). Exposures: Exposure was defined as extended take-home doses in the first month of the pandemic within each of 4 cohorts based on OAT type and baseline take-home dose frequency (daily dispensed methadone, 5-6 take-home doses of methadone, daily dispensed buprenorphine/naloxone, and 5-6 take-home doses of buprenorphine/naloxone). Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcomes were opioid overdose, interruption in OAT, and OAT discontinuation. Results: Among 16 862 methadone and 4435 buprenorphine/naloxone recipients, the median age ranged between 38 and 42 years, and 29.1% to 38.2% were women. Among individuals receiving daily dispensed methadone (n = 5852), initiation of take-home doses was significantly associated with lower risks of opioid overdose (6.9% vs 9.5%/person-year; weighted hazard ratio [HR], 0.73 [95% CI, 0.56-0.96]), treatment discontinuation (51.0% vs 63.6%/person-year; weighted HR, 0.80 [95% CI, 0.72-0.90]), and treatment interruption (19.0% vs 23.9%/person-year; weighted HR, 0.80 [95% CI, 0.67-0.95]) compared with no change in take-home doses. Among individuals receiving daily dispensed buprenorphine/naloxone (n = 662), there was no significant difference in any outcomes between exposure groups. Among individuals receiving weekly dispensed OAT (n = 11 010 for methadone; n = 3773 for buprenorphine/naloxone), extended take-home methadone doses were significantly associated with lower risks of OAT discontinuation (14.1% vs 19.6%/person-year; weighted HR, 0.72 [95% CI, 0.62-0.84]) and interruption in therapy (5.1% vs 7.4%/person-year; weighted HR, 0.69 [95% CI, 0.53-0.90]), and extended take-home doses of buprenorphine/naloxone were significantly associated with lower risk of interruption in therapy (9.5% vs 12.9%/person-year; weighted HR, 0.74 [95% CI, 0.56-0.99]) compared with no change in take-home doses. Other primary outcomes were not significantly different between groups. Conclusions and Relevance: In Ontario, Canada, during the COVID-19 pandemic, dispensing of increased take-home doses of opioid agonist therapy was significantly associated with lower rates of treatment interruption and discontinuation among some subsets of patients receiving opioid agonist therapy, and there were no statistically significant increases in opioid-related overdoses over 6 months of follow-up. These findings may be susceptible to residual confounding and should be interpreted cautiously.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/administration & dosage , Narcotic Antagonists/administration & dosage , Opiate Overdose/epidemiology , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Buprenorphine/administration & dosage , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Male , Medication Adherence , Methadone/administration & dosage , Naloxone/administration & dosage , Ontario/epidemiology , Opiate Substitution Treatment/statistics & numerical data , Propensity Score , Retrospective Studies
3.
Int J Drug Policy ; 103: 103644, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1712564

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In March 2020, the Ontario government declared a state of emergency due to the growing risk of COVID-19. In response, new guidance for the management of opioid agonist therapy (OAT) was released, which included the expansion of eligibility for take-home doses. We investigated the impact of these changes on trends in the distribution of take-home doses of OAT. METHODS: We conducted a population-based time series analysis among residents of Ontario, Canada who were dispensed OAT between June 25, 2019 and November 30, 2020. For each week of the study period, we calculated the percentage of people dispensed (a) methadone and (b) buprenorphine/naloxone by the number of take-home doses received. We used interventional autoregressive integrated moving average models to estimate changes in the percentage of people dispensed each category of take-home doses in the weeks following the declaration of the state of emergency and release of the OAT dispensing guidance. RESULTS: Following the state of emergency and release of the OAT dispensing guidance, there was a significant increase in the percentage of Ontarians dispensed 7 to 13 (3.6% increase; p = 0.033) and 14 or more (0.8% increase; p<0.001) take-home doses of methadone, and in the percentage of people dispensed 7 to 13 (4.3% increase; p = 0.001), 14 to 27 (2.8% increase; p<0.001), and 28 or more (0.3% increase; p = 0.008) take-home doses of buprenorphine/naloxone. There were significant decreases in the percentage of Ontarians receiving daily dispensed buprenorphine/naloxone (-3.1%; p = 0.001), as well as the percentage dispensed 1 to 6 take-home doses of methadone (-4.5%; p = 0.001) and buprenorphine/naloxone (-4.9%; p = 0.001). CONCLUSION: The new guidance for dispensing OAT in Ontario resulted in increases in the duration of take-home doses of methadone and buprenorphine/naloxone supplied. However, given that changes were small, strategies to improve retention in OAT and ensure equitable access to take-home dosing should continue.


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine , COVID-19 , Opioid-Related Disorders , Analgesics, Opioid , Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , Buprenorphine, Naloxone Drug Combination/therapeutic use , Humans , Methadone , Ontario/epidemiology , Opiate Substitution Treatment/methods , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics
4.
Viruses ; 13(7)2021 07 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1302500

ABSTRACT

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has placed a significant strain on hepatitis programs and interventions (screening, diagnosis, and treatment) at a critical moment in the context of hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination. We sought to quantify changes in Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) utilization among different countries during the pandemic. We conducted a cross-sectional time series analysis between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2020, using the IQVIA MIDAS database, which contains DAA purchase data for 54 countries. We examined the percent change in DAA units dispensed (e.g., pills and capsules) from March to August 2019 to the same period of time in 2020 across the 54 countries. Interrupted time-series analysis was used to examine the impact of COVID-19 on monthly rates of DAA utilization across each of the major developed economies (G7 nations). Overall, 46 of 54 (85%) jurisdictions experienced a decline in DAA utilization during the pandemic, with an average of -43% (range: -1% in Finland to -93% in Brazil). All high HCV prevalence (HCV prevalence > 2%) countries in the database experienced a decline in utilization, average -49% (range: -17% in Kazakhstan to -90% in Egypt). Across the G7 nations, we also observed a decreased trend in DAA utilization during the early months of the pandemic, with significant declines (p < 0.01) for Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The global response to COVID-19 led to a large decrease in DAA utilization globally. Deliberate efforts to counteract the impact of COVID-19 on treatment delivery are needed to support the goal of HCV elimination.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , COVID-19/drug therapy , Antiviral Agents/standards , Brazil/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Canada/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Egypt/epidemiology , Finland/epidemiology , Germany/epidemiology , Hepacivirus/isolation & purification , Hepatitis C , Hepatitis C, Chronic/drug therapy , Hepatitis C, Chronic/epidemiology , Humans , Kazakhstan/epidemiology , Pandemics , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , United Kingdom/epidemiology , United States
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