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BackgroundBuprenorphine is a medication that is used to treat opioid use disorder by reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids. Patients with poor adherence are at higher risk of relapse and overdose. Providers often test adherence through urine testing but are not aware of simulated adherence, where patients may directly add buprenorphine to the urine samples. As of now, there exists no literature on the simulated adherence practices for patients who stayed in the treatment for more than three months.MethodsThis study is a cross-sectional analysis of simulated adherence through urine toxicology results of 3950 patients undergoing buprenorphine/naloxone treatment. Simulated adherence was measured by the ratio of norbuprenorphine and buprenorphine <0.02 in the urine sample. Descriptive statistics as well as multivariate analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between patient information and outcomes.ResultsOut of 3950 patients, 411 (10.4%) had a history of one or more simulated adherence. On average, patients with multiple simulated adherences had 48.1% of their tests simulated, while on the contrary, patients with a single occurrence of simulated adherence had 17.6% of their tests simulated. Weekly testing and visit number of over 15 were associated with a higher likelihood of simulated adherence.ConclusionThe study demonstrates that simulated adherence is a recurring phenomenon among buprenorphine/naloxone treatment patients regardless of the duration in the treatment. Utilization of quantitative urine toxicology to identify simulated adherence will enable healthcare providers to formulate a more precise and effective treatment plan tailored to support individual patient needs.

Original publication




Journal article


Substance use & misuse

Publication Date



1 - 5


Bentley Health Thought Leadership Network, Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA.