Methadone, Buprenorphine, or Detoxification for Management of Perinatal Opioid Use Disorder: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Ashish Premkumar*, William A. Grobman, Mishka Terplan, Emily S. Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVE:To estimate whether methadone, buprenorphine, or detoxification treatment is the most cost-effective approach to the management of opioid use disorder (OUD) during pregnancy.METHODS:We created a decision analytic model that compared the cost effectiveness (eg, the marginal cost of the strategy in U.S. dollars divided by the marginal effectiveness of the strategy, measured in quality-adjusted life-years [QALYs]) of initiation of methadone, buprenorphine, or detoxification in treatment of OUD during pregnancy. Probabilities, costs, and utilities were estimated from the existing literature. Incremental cost-effective ratios for each strategy were calculated, and a ratio of $100,000 per QALY was used to define cost effectiveness. One-way sensitivity analyses and a Monte Carlo probabilistic sensitivity analysis were performed.RESULTS:Under base assumptions, initiation of buprenorphine was more effective at a lower cost than either methadone or detoxification and thus was the dominant strategy. Buprenorphine was no longer cost effective if the cost of methadone was 8% less than the base-case estimate ($1,646/month) or if the overall costs of detoxification were 121% less than the base-case estimate for the detoxification cost multiplier, which was used to increase the values of both inpatient and outpatient management of detoxification by a factor of 2. Monte Carlo analyses revealed that buprenorphine was the cost-effective strategy in 70.5% of the simulations. Direct comparison of buprenorphine with methadone demonstrated that buprenorphine was below the incremental cost-effective ratio in 95.1% of simulations; direct comparison between buprenorphine and detoxification demonstrated that buprenorphine was below the incremental cost-effective ratio in 45% of simulations.CONCLUSION:Under most circumstances, we estimate that buprenorphine is the cost-effective strategy when compared with either methadone or detoxification as treatment for OUD during pregnancy. Nonetheless, the fact that buprenorphine was not the cost-effective strategy in almost one out of three of simulations suggests that the robustness of our model may be limited and that further evaluation of the cost-effective approach to the management of OUD during pregnancy is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)921-931
Number of pages11
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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