Buprenorphine is nearly twice as likely to be prescribed by a primary care physician in nonmetropolitan area compared to a large metropolitan area where specialists provide a majority of treatment, reveals a new study.
As the United States undertakes intense efforts to increase the number of prescribers of buprenorphine for opioid use disorder, it is critical to understand who provides such treatment and how at present.
In a survey of a national random sample of buprenorphine physician prescribers (N=1,174), 11% (N=132) practiced in nonmetropolitan/rural areas, 33% (N=382) practiced in small metropolitan areas, and 56% (N=660) were located in large metropolitan areas.
Overall, buprenorphine prescribers across the rural/urban continuum were similar in many of their treatment practices, including frequency of visits and dosing. The authors recommend further research to understand variation in treatment practices and quality and how treatment relates to patient perceptions and outcomes.