Patients receiving a prescription for drug to treat opioid use disorder increased during the COVID-19 pandemic

Buprenorphine is prescribed as a treatment for opioid use disorder. A recent study by Cance et. al. published in JAMA examined changes in outpatient dispensing of buprenorphine in Texas during 90 days before and 90 days after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency (March 13, 2020). The changes observed were:


  1. Number of patients receiving an outpatient buprenorphine prescription
  2. Number of new patients
  3. Mean days’ supply per prescription
  4. Electronic prescribing


  1. Number of existing patients
  2. Total number of outpatient buprenorphine prescriptions 

No changes

  1. Number of prescribers
  2. Mean dosage

Potential factors influencing the changes in prescriptions of buprenorphine may include relaxation of regulations during pandemic, increased need due to the stress of pandemic, transition of care to outpatient settings, and payment reforms. 

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