Leaving buprenorphine treatment: Patients' reasons for cessation of care

Jan Gryczynski, Shannon Gwin Mitchell, Jerome H. Jaffe, Kevin E. O'Grady, Yngvild K. Olsen, Robert P. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Many opioid-dependent patients leave treatment prematurely. This study is a planned secondary analysis from a randomized trial of counseling for African Americans (. N=. 297) entering buprenorphine treatment at one of two outpatient programs. This study examines: (1) whether patients' initial treatment duration intentions prospectively predict retention; and (2) patients' reasons for leaving treatment. Participants were queried about their treatment duration intentions at treatment entry, and their reasons for leaving treatment at 6-month follow-up. At baseline, 28.0% reported wanting to stay in buprenorphine treatment less than 6. months, while 42.1% actually left buprenorphine treatment within 6. months. However, participants intending short-term buprenorphine at the outset were not at elevated risk of early treatment discontinuation (OR. =. 1.15; p=. .65). Participants attributed treatment cessation predominantly to conflicts with staff, involuntary discharge, and perceived inflexibility of the program. Future research should examine patient-centered models of buprenorphine treatment that could improve retention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-361
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Buprenorphine
  • Dropout
  • Opioid dependence
  • Patient intentions
  • Retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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