Project Summary

This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.

PCORI has identified treatment for opioid use disorder as an important research topic. Patients, clinicians, and others want to learn: Can counseling, support groups, and similar programs help patients who are getting medicine-based treatment for opioid use disorder? To help answer this question, PCORI launched an initiative in 2018 on Psychosocial Interventions with Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) for Opioid Use Disorder. The initiative funded this research project and others.

What is the research about?

Opioid use disorder, or OUD, is a pattern of using opioids, such as prescription medicines or heroin, that can lead to addiction or overdose. To treat OUD in primary care clinics, doctors prescribe a medicine called buprenorphine. But with this treatment, some patients keep using opioids or stop taking the medicine too soon. One way to help is contingency management. With this approach, patients receive incentives, such as vouchers or prepaid debit cards, when they meet treatment goals.

In this study, the research team is comparing two contingency management approaches with usual care alone to help patients with OUD meet treatment goals.

Who can this research help?

Results may help doctors when considering ways to aid patients with OUD in taking medicines as prescribed.

What is the research team doing?

The research team is enrolling 375 adults with OUD who are being treated with buprenorphine in clinics across the United States. The team is assigning patients by chance to one of three groups. All three groups receive usual care. Usual care includes help to address recent drug use, side effects from the medicine, or treatment concerns.

Patients in the first group receive usual care alone. Patients in the second and third groups upload videos of themselves taking their medicine each day to get an incentive. To get another incentive, patients in the third group also upload videos that show a negative result from a saliva test for opioids.

Patients are taking urine drug tests and answering surveys once a month for three months, then every three months for nine more months. The surveys ask patients how satisfied they are with treatment and their quality of life and how fulfilling their relationships are. The research team is comparing outcomes across the three groups.

Patients with OUD, primary care doctors, insurers, and members of advocacy groups are helping to plan and conduct this study.

Research methods at a glance

Design Elements Description
Design Randomized controlled trial
Population 375 adults receiving buprenorphine for OUD treatment
  • Usual care plus contingency management for adherence
  • Usual care plus contingency management for adherence and abstinence
  • Usual care alone

Primary: buprenorphine adherence and opiate abstinence

Secondary: up to 1-year follow-up for buprenorphine diversion, treatment retention, psychosocial functioning, quality of life, patient treatment satisfaction, overdose, risk of overdose

Timeframe 3-month follow-up for primary outcomes

Project Information

Kenneth Silverman
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Contingency Management to Enhance Office-Based Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Key Dates

April 2019
October 2025

Study Registration Information


Award Type
Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
Intervention Strategy Intervention Strategies PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that compare two or more options or approaches to health care, or that compare different ways of delivering or receiving care. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: September 26, 2023