Cost-effectiveness of buprenorphine–naloxone versus extended-release naltrexone to prevent opioid relapse Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Obesity


  • © 2019 American College of Physicians Background: Not enough evidence exists to compare buprenorphine–naloxone with extended-release naltrexone for treating opioid use disorder. Objective: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of buprenorphine–naloxone versus extended-release naltrexone. Design: Cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a previously reported randomized clinical trial of 570 adults in 8 U.S. inpatient or residential treatment programs. Data Sources: Study instruments. Target Population: Adults with opioid use disorder. Time Horizon: 24-week intervention with an additional 12 weeks of observation. Perspective: Health care sector and societal. Interventions: Buprenorphine–naloxone and extended-release naltrexone. Outcome Measures: Incremental costs combined with incremental quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and incremental time abstinent from opioids. Results of Base-Case Analysis: Use of the health care sector perspective and a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100 000 per QALY showed buprenorphine–naloxone to be preferable to extended-release naltrexone in 97% of bootstrap replications at 24 weeks and in 85% at 36 weeks. Similar results were obtained with incremental time abstinent from opioids as an outcome and with use of the societal perspective. Results of Sensitivity Analysis: The base-case results were sensitive to the cost of the 2 treatments and the success of randomized treatment initiation. Limitation: Relatively short follow-up for a chronic condition, substantial missing data, no information on patient out-of-pocket and social service costs. Conclusion: Buprenorphine–naloxone is preferred to extended-release naltrexone as first-line treatment when both options are clinically appropriate and patients require detoxification before initiating extended-release naltrexone.

publication date

  • January 15, 2019



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.7326/M18-0227

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 90

end page

  • 98


  • 170


  • 2