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New National Study Finds Buprenorphine Reduces Heroin Use

A new national study coordinated by NYAM and the Yale University School of Medicine—the largest ever undertaken among people living with HIV and substance abuse—has found Buprenorphine to be effective in reducing drug use while improving their health and quality of life. The study paves the way for people living with HIV to receive the medication directly from their primary care physicians.

The study, Buprenorphine in Integrated HIV Care Evaluation and Support (BHIVES), involved over 300 patients in ten HIV primary care sites around the US. It took place over a five-year period and was funded by the HIV/AIDS Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The study findings are being reported in a special supplemental issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS). A full copy of the study can also be found here.

Among other key findings, the study showed that:

• Buprenorphine treatment resulted in more patients starting HIV medication, improved HIV treatment outcomes, and significant decreases in heroin and other opioid use over the course of the project.
• Patients were overwhelmingly satisfied with the treatment in controlling substance use and improving their health and overall quality of life. One patient described her experience: “With Buprenorphine you just feel like you’re just normal. It’s kind of like it takes me back to before I had ever done opiates.”
• Clinicians were also highly satisfied, were able to establish buprenorphine programs with little negative impact on the overall clinic, and found it to be an important new tool to reach and treat highly vulnerable populations.
• Buprenorphine treatment helps to overcome a historical divide between medical care and drug treatment services.
• Policy barriers to wider adoption of buprenorphine treatment include the need for workforce training, public insurance coverage for buprenorphine, and strengthened addiction treatment skills for HIV clinicians.

“The study results are good news for patients, who can get effective treatment for opioid dependence right in their HIV doctor’s offices and improve their HIV outcomes at the same time,” said Ruth Finkelstein, Vice President for Health Policy at NYAM. “This is good news for the HIV care system, as providing this treatment improves care while increasing patient and staff satisfaction.”

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Posted on March 7, 2011

Contact:
Andrew J. Martin
Director of Communications
The New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10029
212-822-7285
amartin@nyam.org

The Junior Fellows Philanthropy Project: An Exploration of Community Service through Targeted Health Research

This past fall, with the support of Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, NYAM’s Office of School Health Programs (OSHP) developed and launched a new component of The Junior Fellows Program, The Junior Fellows Philanthropy Project. This pilot is designed to teach students how to utilize health research as a tool in learning about philanthropy and community service. Read More >>

NYAM in the Media

The Next Step in Drug Treatment
The New York Times publishes an editorial on a public health approach to drug policy upon the release of NYAM and the Drug Policy Alliance’s Blueprint for a Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy.

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