A comparison of mortality rates for buprenorphine versus methadone treatments for opioid use disorder

Acta Psychiatrica ScandinavicaScott Cunningham MD PhD, et al. | July 18, 2022



In addition to the ease of administration, buprenorphine is associated with lower all-cause and suicide mortality rates compared to methadone among patients with opioid use disorder.

Data were obtained from the US Department of Veteran Affairs involving patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder who received opioid antagonist treatment (n=61,997; mean age, 47.9 years; 92.7% male).

The primary outcome measures were all-cause, overdose, and suicide mortality rates among patients treated with buprenorphine or methadone.

The patients were followed for 2 years. The tertiles for methadone prescribing were 4.8%, 19.5%, and 75.1%.

All-cause and suicide mortality rates, but not overdose mortality rates, were lower among patients prescribed buprenorphine (20% and 40%, respectively) than methadone.