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Neale, J., Parkin, S., & Strang, J. (2023). ‘Qualitative study of patients’ decisions to initiate injectable depot buprenorphine for opioid use disorder: the role of information and other factors’, Drugs, Education, Prevention and Policy.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalDrugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
Published2 Jan 2023

King's Authors


Background: Depot buprenorphine can potentially address many limitations of other forms of opioid replacement therapy (ORT). This paper builds upon the concept of the ‘informed patient’ to explore individuals’ decisions to initiate injectable depot buprenorphine. Methods: Data derive from a qualitative study of 26 people with opioid use disorder who were recruited from drug treatment services in England and Wales and interviewed within 72 hours of starting injectable depot buprenorphine treatment. Interviews were conducted by telephone, audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed via Iterative Categorization. Findings: Participants’ decisions to initiate treatment were underpinned by receiving sufficient information to trust depot buprenorphine; current treatment not meeting their personal needs or goals; frequently uncritical perceptions of depot buprenorphine; and restricted access to depot buprenorphine making recipients feel grateful. Overall, participants said they had enough information and knowledge to decide they wanted depot buprenorphine. However, dissatisfaction with current ORT, desire for better treatment, and depot buprenorphine’s limited availability seemed to hinder informed decision-making. Conclusions: Whilst pharmaceutical products cannot solve the complex life problems often associated with opioid use disorder, we need to increase access to all ORT forms so that patients do not feel they have to rush into any medication without adequate preparation.

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