Thursday, December 15, 2011

Opioid-Dependent Patients Lack Knowledge About Treatment

Patients with opioid dependence may not have the information they need to make good treatment decisions, even if they think they do. Researchers at the European Monitoring Centre of Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon, Portugal, report in the December The Psychiatrist the results of a cross-sectional survey to assess patient knowledge and information about opioid substitution treatment among individuals with opiate dependence receiving treatment at four centers in London. The 118 study participants answered correctly a mean of 14 out of 34 questions assessing knowledge about medication, blood-borne viruses, and overdose. Participants overestimated their performance on average by almost 40 percent. Individuals with a history of previous treatments scored significantly higher than those in their first treatment episode. The majority reported having received written information on most of the topics assessed.

“Poorly informed patients are unlikely to make optimal treatment choices,” wrote the researchers. “Improving patients’ knowledge and understanding about treatment may lead to better engagement, retention, treatment adherence, and ultimately, better health outcomes.”

For more about treatment of opioid dependence, see the Handbook of Office-Based Buprenorphine Treatment of Opioid Dependence, from American Psychiatric Publishing.

(Image: lenetstan/


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