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Depot buprenorphine injections for opioid use disorder: Patient information needs and preferences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-518
Number of pages9
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number5
Early online date26 May 2019
Accepted/In press30 Apr 2019
E-pub ahead of print26 May 2019
PublishedJul 2019


King's Authors


Introduction and Aims: There has been significant recent investment in new medications for opioid use disorder, including buprenorphine depot injections. Patients and professionals need good quality, independent information on medications to help them make informed treatment decisions. This paper aims to understand patients’ information needs and preferences in relation to buprenorphine depot injections. Design and Methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 36 people using opioids (26 men, 10 women; 24–63 years). Twelve participants were currently prescribed daily oral methadone; 12 were currently prescribed daily oral buprenorphine; and 12 were using heroin and not in treatment. Interviews were transcribed, coded and analysed via Iterative Categorisation. Results: Participants asked many questions about depot buprenorphine injections. These related to: (i) medication purpose and availability; (ii) pharmacology; (iii) evidence base and effectiveness; (iv) safety and side effects; (v) administration and dosing; and (vi) reducing and ending treatment. Additionally, participants expressed their information preferences in terms of (i) ‘format’ and (ii) ‘source’. Specifically, they wanted printed, verbal and electronic materials provided by people in authority, particularly patients who had already had the medication. Discussion and Conclusions: All potential patients should be offered accessible information on depot buprenorphine to enable them to consider their options and participate meaningfully in treatment decision making. We recommend that further qualitative research is undertaken to produce informative video material that describes patient experiences of receiving depot buprenorphine. This should help to balance biomedical knowledge with lay knowledge, so facilitating more informed discussions when decisions about depot buprenorphine treatment are made.

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