Rx Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder Up Among Medicaid Enrollees

There are still considerable gaps in medication care, with Black enrollees having lower use than Whites

WEDNESDAY, July 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The prevalence of medication use for treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) increased from 2014 through 2018 among U.S. Medicaid enrollees in 11 states, according to a study published July 13 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Julie M. Donohue, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and colleagues from the Medicaid Outcomes Distributed Research Network assessed trends in the treatment of OUD among Medicaid enrollees. The analysis included 1,024,301 Medicaid enrollees (aged 12 through 64 years) in 11 states with a diagnostic code for OUD from 2014 through 2018.

The researchers found that prevalence of OUD increased in the 11 states from 3.3 percent in 2014 to 5.0 percent in 2018. There was also an increase in the pooled prevalence of enrollees with OUD receiving medication treatment (47.8 percent in 2014 to 57.1 percent in 2018). However, there was not a significant change in the overall prevalence of enrollees receiving 180 days of continuous medications for OUD (−0.01 prevalence difference), with variation noted across and within states. OUD medication use in non-Hispanic Black enrollees was lower than among White enrollees (prevalence ratio [PR], 0.72). Compared with other groups, pregnant women had higher use of OUD medications (PR, 1.18) and medication continuity (PR, 1.14).

“This demonstrates that state Medicaid expansion provided access to care for a population that needed to be engaged in the health care system,” Donohue said in a statement. “Opioid use disorder can be treated, just like any other disease, but treatment is most successful when the patient has regular, unimpeded access to trained clinicians who can not only treat the disorder, but also oversee the rest of their health care.”

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