CLINICAL CASE DISCUSSIONSOvercoming Barriers to Initiating Medication-assisted Treatment for Heroin Use Disorder in a General Medical Hospital: A Case Report and Narrative Literature ReviewHASSAMAL, SAMEER MD; GOLDENBERG, MATTHEW DO; ISHAK, WAGUIH MD; HAGLUND, MARGARET MD; MIOTTO, KAREN MD; DANOVITCH, ITAI MD Author Information HASSAMAL: Department of Addiction Psychiatry, UCLA Kern, Bakersfield, CA GOLDENBERG: Department of Addiction Psychiatry, UCLA San Fernando Valley/VA Greater Los Angeles, Sepulveda, CA ISHAK: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Los Angeles, CA HAGLUND and DANOVITCH: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA MIOTTO: David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Los Angeles, CA The authors declare no conflicts of interest. Please send correspondence to: Sameer Hassamal, MD, Department of Addiction Psychiatry, UCLA Kern, 1700 Mount Vernon Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93306 (e-mail: [email protected]). Journal of Psychiatric Practice: May 2017 - Volume 23 - Issue 3 - p 221-229 doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000231 Buy Metrics Abstract Deaths due to heroin overdoses are increasing and are the leading cause of death among intravenous heroin users. Although medication-assisted treatment (MAT) improves morbidity and mortality in patients with opioid use disorders, it is underutilized. Most efforts to expand access to MAT have focused on outpatient settings. Although the inpatient medical setting presents a critical opportunity to initiate treatment, general hospitals are often unfamiliar with MAT, creating a number of barriers to its use. In this report, we describe the case of a woman with heroin use disorder who was initiated on buprenorphine maintenance treatment while hospitalized for cardiac disease related to her intravenous heroin use. Barriers to initiating buprenorphine in this case included patient, practitioner, and organizational factors, and, ultimately, shared misperceptions about the feasibility of administering buprenorphine in a general medical hospital. These barriers were addressed, buprenorphine was initiated, and the patient demonstrated reduced craving, improved postoperative pain control, improved overall well-being, increased engagement in discharge planning, and acceptance of referral for addiction specialty aftercare. Our experience with this patient suggests that it is feasible to initiate buprenorphine in acute medical settings and that such treatment can improve patient outcomes. Our review of the literature reveals emerging evidence supporting the value of this practice. Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.