Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder in the Acute Hospital Setting: a Critical Review of the Literature (2014–2019)


Purpose of Review

Patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) often have concomitant medical conditions requiring hospitalization. This review describes the treatment of patients with OUD in acute care hospitals. Topics addressed include screening hospitalized patients for OUD, hospital initiation of medications for OUD (MOUD), Addiction Medicine Consult Services (AMCS), managing infectious complications of intravenous opioid use, and clinical innovations.

Recent Findings

Management of opioid withdrawal and initiation of MOUD in hospitalized patients improves engagement in post-discharge addiction treatment. Implementation of an AMCS improves patient and provider outcomes. Care models that promote seamless transitions from the inpatient to outpatient setting for patients with OUD can improve patient outcomes and reduce health care utilization.


Comprehensive addiction care for hospitalized patients with OUD improves patient, provider, and health care outcomes. Future studies should define the essential components of this integrated care and establish a new standard for the hospital care of patients with OUD.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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The authors thank Melissa Furano, MS, MLS.

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Correspondence to Melissa Weimer.

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Melissa B. Weimer reports one-time personal fees from Alkermes and Indivior, outside the submitted work.

Kenneth Morford has no conflicts of interest to declare.

Joseph Donroe has no conflicts of interest to declare.

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Weimer, M., Morford, K. & Donroe, J. Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder in the Acute Hospital Setting: a Critical Review of the Literature (2014–2019). Curr Addict Rep 6, 339–354 (2019).

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  • Opioid
  • Addiction
  • Substance-related disorders
  • Hospital