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Local physician recommends World Health Organization retire the term opioid substitution therapy

Date:
April 16, 2015
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
A researcher and physician caring for individuals with substance abuse disorders, believes the term opioid substitution therapy has unintended adverse consequences for patients receiving treatment for addiction.
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A Boston researcher and physician caring for individuals with substance abuse disorders, believes the term opioid substitution therapy (OST) has unintended adverse consequences for patients receiving treatment for addiction.

In a correspondence to the editors of the journal Lancet, Jeffrey H. Samet, MD, MA, MPH, professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and chief of the section of General Internal Medicine at Boston Medical Center maintains that the use of the non-medical term OST serves to reinforce the concept that this type of treatment is not part of mainstream medicine and may cause unintentional harm to the patient.

Samet recommends replacing the term OST with opioid agonist treatment (OAT). "The single word difference is significant, does not lend itself to misinterpretation and avoids the unintended negative connotations," he said. "OAT medications, methadone and buprenorphine, derive effectiveness as a consequence of their agonist properties on the mu opioid receptor. Hence we argue to use a term that indicates these medications pharmacological classification, akin to angiotensin converting enzyme [ACE]-inhibitors or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRI]," he explained.

Samet and his co-author David A. Fiellin, MD, from the department of medicine at Yale University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, believe this correspondence highlights an important issue concerning a currently accepted standard vernacular that merits a small but major change. "Such a change in terminology concerning the care of patients receiving treatment for an opioid use disorder will have broad and substantial impact," added Samet.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jeffrey H Samet, David A Fiellin. Opioid substitution therapy—time to replace the term. The Lancet, 2015; 385 (9977): 1508 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60750-4

Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Local physician recommends World Health Organization retire the term opioid substitution therapy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150416192704.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2015, April 16). Local physician recommends World Health Organization retire the term opioid substitution therapy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150416192704.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Local physician recommends World Health Organization retire the term opioid substitution therapy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150416192704.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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