Publications & Reports

Perceptions of extended-release buprenorphine injections for opioid use disorder among people who regularly use opioids in Australia.

Larance B, Degenhardt L, Grebely J, Nielsen S, Bruno R, Dietze P, Lancaster K, Larney S, Santo T Jr, Shanahan M, Memedovic S, Ali R, Farrell M
School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia.


AIMS: To examine perceptions of extended-release (XR) buprenorphine injections among people who regularly use opioids in Australia. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey prior to implementation. XR-buprenorphine was registered in Australia in November 2018. SETTING: Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. PARTICIPANTS: 402 people who regularly use opioids interviewed December 2017 to March 2018. MEASUREMENTS: Primary outcome: proportion of participants who believed XR-buprenorphine would be a good treatment option for them, preferred weekly vs. monthly injections and perceived advantages/disadvantages of XR-buprenorphine. INDEPENDENT VARIABLES: demographic characteristics and features of current opioid agonist treatment (OAT; medication-type, dose, prescriber/dosing setting, unsupervised doses, out-of-pocket expenses and travel distance). FINDINGS: Sixty-eight percent (95% CI: 63%-73%) believed XR-buprenorphine was a good treatment option for them. They were more likely to report being younger (26-35 years vs. >55 years; OR 3.16, 95% CI: 1.12-8.89; p=0.029), being female (OR 1.67, 95% CI: 1.04-2.69; p=0.034), <10 years school education (OR 1.87, 95% CI: 1.12-3.12; p=0.016), and past month heroin (OR 1.81, 95% CI: 1.15-2.85; p=0.006) and methamphetamine use (OR 1.90, 95% CI: 1.20-3.01; p=0.006). Fifty-four percent reported no preference for weekly vs. monthly injections, 7% preferred weekly, and 39% preferred monthly. Among OAT recipients (n=255), believing XR-buprenorphine was a good treatment option was associated with shorter treatment episodes (1-2 years vs. >/= 2 years; OR 3.93, 95% CI: 1.26-12.22; p=0.018), fewer unsupervised doses (</=8 doses past month vs. no takeaways; OR 0.50; 95% CI: 0.27-0.93; p=0.028), and longer travel distance (>/=5km vs. <5km; OR 2.10, 95% CI: 1.20-3.65; p=0.009). Sixty-nine percent reported ‘no problems or concerns’ with potential differences in availability, flexibility and location of XR-buprenorphine. CONCLUSIONS: Among regular opioid users in Australia, perceptions of extended-release buprenorphine as a good treatment option are associated with being female, recent illicit drug use, and factors relating to the (in)convenience of current opioid agonist treatment.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: Addiction
  • Published: 01/01/2020
  • Volume: 115
  • Issue: 7
  • Pagination: 1295-1305