Hosp Pharm. 2022 Feb;57(1):88-92. doi: 10.1177/0018578720985439. Epub 2020 Dec 29.
Objective: Evidence shows that patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) have an increased rate of discharge against medical advice (DAMA) as well as higher rates of hospital readmission. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine if inpatient initiation of buprenorphine/naloxone in patients with OUD is associated with decreased rates of DAMA. Methods: This was a single center retrospective cohort study conducted at a level 1, academic medical center. The study included patients with OUD admitted to the Internal Medicine service from January through May of both 2018 and 2019 for an admitting diagnosis other than opioid withdrawal. The primary endpoint was rate of DAMA among OUD patients not initiated on opioid agonist therapy compared to those initiated on buprenorphine/naloxone. The secondary endpoint was the association between factors of the initiation process on rates of DAMA. Patients were excluded if they were discharged in less than 24 hours or received intermittent administration of buprenorphine/naloxone. Results: The rate of DAMA in OUD patients not initiated on buprenorphine/naloxone was 13.85% compared to 2.56% in those initiated on buprenorphine/naloxone (P = .048). Conclusion: In OUD patients initiated on buprenorphine/naloxone, the rate of DAMA was significantly lower than those who were not. This data supports the importance of optimizing the opportunity to initiate buprenorphine/naloxone in the acute care setting to minimize withdrawal symptoms therefore reducing the rate of DAMA. Ultimately increasing the ability to adequately treat the primary reason for admission and potentially decreasing readmission rates. Further studies are needed to evaluate this impact as this study is limited to a small sample size therefore lacking adequate power.