Vol. 1 No. 12 (2021)
Health Technology Reviews

Cost-Effectiveness and Guidelines for Opioid Substitution Treatment

Published December 22, 2021

Key Messages

  • There was evidence indicating that in the treatment of opioid use disorder, injectable hydromorphone, or injectable methadone provided more benefit at less cost compared with injectable diacetylmorphine over a 6-month time horizon.
  • Evidence suggests that in the treatment of opioid use disorder, both injectable hydromorphone and injectable diacetylmorphine are likely to provide more benefit at less cost than methadone maintenance treatment. Treatment with injectable hydromorphone was more cost-effective than injectable diacetylmorphine in opioid use disorder patients who do not respond to or relapse from drug treatments.
  • The evidence is limited because observed data were collected during a short-term follow-up, and long-term cost-effectiveness outcomes were based on extrapolations beyond data from the actual studies.
  • One guideline provided a weak recommendation, supported by low-quality evidence, for using slow-release oral morphine in older adults with adequate renal function in whom buprenorphine and methadone maintenance have been ineffective to treat opioid use disorder or could not be tolerated. Another guideline recommends using injectable hydromorphone or injectable diacetylmorphine for individuals with severe opioid use disorders who relapsed previous treatments failed.
  • No relevant cost-effectiveness evidence or guidelines with recommendations regarding the use of oral hydromorphone, fentanyl patches, or fentanyl buccal tablets for opioid use disorder treatment were identified; therefore, no summary can be provided.