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Original Research

Association of Bupropion, Naltrexone, and Opioid Agonist Treatment With Stimulant-Related Admissions Among People With Opioid Use Disorder: A Case-Crossover Analysis

Kevin Y. Xu, MD, MPHa,*; Carrie M. Mintz, MDa; Ned Presnall, MSWa; Laura J. Bierut, MDa,b; and Richard A. Grucza, PhDa,c

Published: June 20, 2022


Background: Stimulant use has substantially increased among people with opioid use disorder (OUD) and is associated with worse treatment outcomes. This study’s objective was to compare risk of stimulant-related emergency department (ED) and hospital admissions associated with exposure to bupropion, OUD medication (buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; active comparator) relative to days without active prescriptions for medication.

Methods: This recurrent-event, case-crossover study used insurance claims from 51,084 individuals with OUD enrolled in the IBM MarketScan (2006–2016) Databases who had at least 1 stimulant-related ED or hospital admission. Conditional logistic regression models estimated the risk of admissions between days without active prescriptions and days with prescriptions for bupropion, OUD medication, and SSRIs. Secondary analyses were conducted by stimulant subtype (cocaine; amphetamine) and event subtype (falls, injuries, or poisonings; psychotic events).

Results: Compared to days without active prescriptions, days with bupropion treatment were associated with decreased odds of stimulant-related ED or hospital admissions (odds ratio [OR] = 0.77; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.72–0.82) Among OUD medications, we observed strong protective associations with decreased admissions for buprenorphine (OR = 0.67; 95% CI, 0.64–0.71), naltrexone (OR = 0.65; 95% CI, 0.60–0.70), and methadone (OR = 0.59; 95% CI, 0.51–0.67). The SSRI active comparator group was associated with a small protective association with decreased admissions (OR = 0.90; 95% CI, 0.86–0.93). These effects were sustained in secondary analyses stratifying by stimulant and event subtype.

Conclusions: Bupropion and OUD medication, including both naltrexone and opioid agonists, are associated with fewer stimulant-related ED or hospital admissions in patients with OUD. Bupropion may show promise as adjunctive therapy targeting stimulant-specific poisoning risk.

Volume: 83

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