ICER Report Shows Evidence Supports President’s Call for Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence

– Long-term Maintenance Therapy with Medication is an Essential Part of Treatment –

Boston, Mass., October 22, 2015 – Yesterday, the President traveled to West Virginia to discuss opioid addiction. Key to his remarks and the steps he announced to address the crisis was the increased use of medication assisted treatment (MAT).

Last year, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) produced a report providing guidance on effective management of opioid dependence. Consistent with the President’s remarks, the key findings of the review and votes of the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC) found that MAT treatment programs that replace opioids with medications like methadone or buprenorphine to treat dependence are more effective than short-term managed “withdrawal” approaches that attempt to discontinue all opioid use.

In addition to the report, ICER has produced supporting materials, including Action Guides for providers, patients and their families, and policymakers. These materials have already proved valuable to stakeholders and are available at no charge to assist with the implementation of the President’s initiative. The report and additional materials are available here.

The New England CEPAC reviewed evidence on the clinical effectiveness and value of different management approaches for opioid dependence and made recommendations to guide practice and policy. The key findings of the review and votes of the New England CEPAC found that treatment programs that use a medication like methadone or buprenorphine to replace the opioid (a method known as maintenance therapy) are more effective than short-term managed withdrawal approaches that attempt to discontinue all opioid use (sometimes referred to as detoxification). The final report concludes that for every additional dollar spent on maintenance treatment in New England, $1.80 in savings would be realized.

During the meeting, CEPAC also formed recommendations with a panel of leading regional clinical and policy experts for ways to coordinate efforts in New England to expand access to effective treatment options for opioid dependence, individualize treatment, and build system capacity to support the diverse needs of patients with addiction. The full list of policy recommendations is available in the final report.

About CEPAC
The New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC) – a core program of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) — is an independent panel that reviews objective evidence reports and holds public meetings to develop recommendations for how patients, clinicians, insurers, and policymakers can improve the quality and value of health care. For more information about the New England CEPAC, please visit www.cepac.icer-review.org.

About ICER
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is an independent non-profit health care research organization dedicated to improving the interpretation and application of evidence in the health care system. ICER directs two core programs: the California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF), and the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC). For more information about ICER, please visit ICER’s website, www.icer-review.org.