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People who are dependent on opioids and are being treated with buprenorphine do not receive additional benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, a new study finds. The study could change how opioid dependence is viewed and treated, according to MedicalXpress.

Buprenorphine is the most commonly prescribed drug of its kind to treat opioid dependence, the article notes. Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to treat many psychiatric conditions and substance use disorders. The researchers from Yale University studied 141 people with opioid dependence. They were divided into two groups. One group received buprenorphine treatment alone, and the second group received the drug treatment plus cognitive behavioral therapy.

Both treatments were similarly effective. Patients in both groups had a significant reduction in self-reported frequency of opioid use. Those receiving cognitive behavioral therapy did not have a greater reduction in use than those receiving buprenorphine treatment alone.

The findings appear in the American Journal of Medicine.

“This study demonstrates that some patients can do very well with buprenorphine and minimal physician support,” lead author Dr. David A. Fiellin noted in a news release. “This treatment represents an important tool to help reduce the adverse impact of addiction, HIV, and overdose due to heroin and prescription opioids.”


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