Among patients receiving methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) for opioid dependence, receipt of unobserved dosing privileges (take homes) and adequate doses (ie, ≥ 80 mg) are each associated with improved addiction treatment outcomes, but the association with acute care hospitalization is unknown. We studied whether take-home dosing and adequate doses (ie, ≥80 mg) were associated with decreased hospital admission among patients in an MMT.
We reviewed daily electronic medical records of patients enrolled in one MMT program to determine receipt of take-home doses, methadone dose 80 mg or more, and hospital admission date. Nonlinear mixed-effects logistic regression models were used to evaluate whether take-home doses or dose 80 mg or more on a given day were associated with hospital admission on the subsequent day. Covariates in adjusted models included age, sex, race/ethnicity, human immunodeficiency virus status, medical illness, mental illness, and polysubstance use at program admission.
Subjects (n = 138) had the following characteristics: mean age 43 years; 52% female; 17% human immunodeficiency virus–infected; 32% medical illness; 40% mental illness; and 52% polysubstance use. During a mean follow-up of 20 months, 42 patients (30%) accounted for 80 hospitalizations. Receipt of take homes was associated with significantly lower odds of a hospital admission (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.11–0.62), whereas methadone dose 80 mg or more was not (AOR = 1.01; 95% CI, 0.56–1.83).
Among MMT patients, receipt of take homes, but not dose of methadone, was associated with decreased hospital admission. Take-home status may reflect not only patients' improved addiction outcomes but also reduced health care utilization.