Association between ethnicity and treatment status in opioid dependence therapy using methadone and suboxone drugs

Paul Francis Ngande, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Opioids are drugs with opium-like qualities that are either derived from opiates (drugs created from opium, such as morphine or codeine) or chemically produced. In the U.S. opiate abuse and related deaths have been increasing and traditional maintenance treatment has been Methadone with variable success. However, since 2003 synthetic Buprenorphine has been used since it is prescribed daily by physicians in pill form and should improve outcomes. Comparative studies are limited and the effect of ethnicity on treatment outcome is unknown. Data collected at one clinic from December 2005 through May 2009 were used to compare the association between ethnicity and other socioeconomic variables with treatment status, and to identify factors associated with the dropout among participants. Descriptive tables and multiple logistic regression models were used to examine the data on 1,295 total participants. Of the total, 875 participants (68%) were from the Methadone subsample and 420 participants (32%) from the Buprenorphine subsample; only about 15% stayed in treatment. This study showed that with either Methadone or Buprenorphine maintenance therapy, only about 15% participants stay active over 3.5 years. Methadone treated patients that stayed active in treatment were associated with Caucasian ethnicity and were more likely to be employed. With Buprenorphine maintenance treatment only age over 40 years was associated with continuing activity in the program. Further studies that examine the reasons for the high dropout status and the implication of the socioeconomic and ethnic associations found in this data may help to improve treatment outcomes.

Subject Area

Mental health|Physical therapy

Recommended Citation

Ngande, Paul Francis, "Association between ethnicity and treatment status in opioid dependence therapy using methadone and suboxone drugs" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1475272.