Impact of a Pharmacist-Led Substance Use Disorder Transitions of Care Clinic on Postdischarge Medication Treatment Retention

Austin Smith
Jamie Hansen
Michelle Colvard
Peer-Reviewed Article
April 2021


A pharmacist-led substance use disorder intervention improved treatment retention for patients with opioid use and alcohol disorder.


Despite strong evidence to support the use of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and medications for alcohol use disorder (MAUD), patients continue to experience barriers to consistent and long-term treatment. This study assesses the impact of a pharmacist-led substance use disorder (SUD) transitions of care telephone clinic based at a Veterans Affairs (VA) facility on MOUD/MAUD retention following patient initiation with the medications after hospital discharge.


Patients enrolled in the pharmacist-led SUD transitions of care telephone clinic had significantly higher retention rates for buprenorphine/naloxone and extended-release naltrexone compared to those who were not. The intervention group also had higher enrollment rates into an addiction specialty clinic following hospital discharge. Overall, the intervention’s core components — access to MAUD and MOUD, patient engagement for treatment retention, referrals to need-based services, and provider engagement for care coordination — led to higher medication retention rates for the patients in the intervention.


Innovative complex care interventions, such as this pharmacist-led SUD transitions of care model, that focus on care coordination and access to medication treatment after inpatient admission can lead to significant clinical improvements for patients with opioid and alcohol use disorders.

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