Yale University

Self-management of buprenorphine/naloxone among online discussion board users.

TitleSelf-management of buprenorphine/naloxone among online discussion board users.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBrown, Shan-Estelle, and Frederick L. Altice
JournalSubstance use & misuse
Date Published2014 Jul
AbstractBackground: Buprenorphine/naloxone is an effective medication used to treat opioid dependence. Patients in treatment and those using it illegally without prescriptions have discussed using buprenorphine/naloxone anonymously on Internet discussion boards. Their beliefs about self-treatment and efforts to self-treat are not well known. Objectives: To identify facilitators of self-treatment by online buprenorphine/naloxone users. Methods: A qualitative, retrospective study of discussion board postings from September 2010 to November 2012 analyzed 121 threads from 13 discussion boards using grounded theory. Results: Facilitators of self-management themes that emerged included: (1) a ready supply of buprenorphine/naloxone from a variety of sources; (2) distrust of buprenorphine prescribers and pharmaceutical companies; (3) the declaration that buprenorphine/naloxone is a "bad-tasting" medicine; (4) the desire to adopt a different delivery method other than sublingually; and (5) a desire to become completely "substance-free." The sublingual film formulation appears to be an important facilitator in self-treatment because it can more easily be apportioned to extend the medication because of limited supply, cost, or to taper. Conclusions/Importance: The findings indicate a range of self-management activities ranging from altering the amount taken to modifying the physical medication composition or changing the administration route; some of these behaviors constitute problematic extra-medical use. Contributors to discussion boards seem to trust each other more than they trust pharmacists and prescribing physicians. The shared knowledge and behaviors of this understudied online community are important to healthcare providers because of the previously unknown precautions and risks taken to self-treat.
Alternate JournalSubst Use Misuse

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