UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Factors associated with willingness to take extended release naltrexone among injection drug users Ahamad, Keith; Milloy, MJ; Nguyen, Paul; Uhlmann, Sasha; Johnson, Cheyenne; Korthuis, Todd P; Kerr, Thomas; Wood, Evan


Background: Although opioid-agonist therapy with methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone is currently the mainstay of medical treatment for opioid use disorder, these medications often are not well accepted or tolerated by patients. Recently, extended release naltrexone (XR-NTX), an opioid antagonist, has been advanced as an alternative treatment. The willingness of opioid-addicted patients to take XR-NTX has not been well described. Methods: Opioid-using persons enrolled in a community-recruited cohort in Vancouver, Canada, were asked whether or not they would be willing to take XR-NTX. Logistic regression was used to independently identify factors associated with willingness to take the medication. Results: Among the 657 participants surveyed between June 1, 2013, and November 30, 2013, 342 (52.1%) were willing to take XR-NTX. One factor positively associated with willingness was daily heroin injection (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.53; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.02–2.31), whereas Caucasian ethnicity was negatively associated (AOR = 0.59; 95% CI = 0.43–0.82). Satisfaction with agonist therapy (13.4%) and unwillingness to stop opioids being used for pain (26.9%) were the most common reasons for being unwilling to take XR-NTX. Conclusions: A high level of willingness to take XR-NTX was observed in this setting. Interestingly, daily injection heroin use was positively associated with willingness, whereas Caucasian participants were less willing to take XR-NTX. Although explanations for unwillingness were described in this study, further research is needed to investigate real-world acceptability of XR-NTX as an additional option for the treatment of opioid use disorder.

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