To describe trends and factors associated with medication administration for opioid use disorder (OUD) and retention in treatment among pregnant women with OUD.
This is a retrospective, nationwide, cross-sectional analysis of treatment episodes for primary OUD among pregnant women from 2013 to 2017. The primary outcome was initiation of methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone. Secondary outcomes were retention in treatment defined as length of treatment episode lasting six months or greater, and completion of treatment. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were applied to describe trends in, and identify factors associated with the outcomes.
There were 42,239 treatment episodes for primary OUD among pregnant women who reported using heroin (65.0%, 27,459), synthetic opioid (33.2%, 14,034), or nonprescribed methadone (1.8%, 746) between 2013 and 2017. Medications for OUD were administered in 47.4% (20,013) of episodes. Retention in treatment occurred in 16.6% of episodes without medications for OUD, and 37.8% of episodes with medications for OUD (P=.01). The rate of medication administration for OUD increased from 41.0% in 2013 to 52.0% in 2017; however, retention rates declined from 39.0% to 33.0% among treatment episodes with medication for OUD. History of at least one prior treatment episode was associated with both administration of medications for OUD and retention in treatment.
In spite of current guidelines, most treatment episodes for OUD during pregnancy did not involve administration of medications for OUD. Although administration of medications for OUD has improved over time, retention in treatment is lagging. These findings highlight gaps in the U.S. addiction care system.