Comparative profiles of men and women with opioid dependence: Results from a national multisite effectiveness trial

Sudie E. Back, Rebecca L. Payne, Amy Herrin Wahlquist, Rickey E. Carter, Zachary Stroud, Louise Haynes, Maureen Hillhouse, Kathleen T. Brady, Walter Ling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Background: Accumulating evidence indicates important gender differences in substance use disorders. Little is known, however, about gender differences and opioid use disorders. Objectives: To compare demographic characteristics, substance use severity, and other associated areas of functioning (as measured by the Addiction Severity Index-Lite (ASI-Lite)) among opioid-dependent men and women participating in a multisite effectiveness trial. Methods: Participants were 892 adults screened for the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network investigation of the effectiveness of two buprenorphine tapering schedules. Results: The majority of men and women tested positive for oxycodone (68% and 65%, respectively) and morphine (89% each). More women than men tested positive for amphetamines (4% vs. 1%, p < .01), methamphetamine (11% vs. 4%, p < .01), and phencyclidine (8% vs. 4%, p = .02). More men than women tested positive for methadone (11% vs. 6%, p = .05) and marijuana (22% vs. 15%, p = .03). Craving for opioids was significantly higher among women (p < .01). Men evidenced higher alcohol (p < .01) and legal (p = .04) ASI composite scores, whereas women had higher drug (p < .01), employment (p < .01), family (p < .01), medical (p < .01), and psychiatric (p < .01) ASI composite scores. Women endorsed significantly more current and past medical problems. Conclusions: Important gender differences in the clinical profiles of opioid-dependent individuals were observed with regard to substance use severity, craving, medical conditions, and impairment in associated areas of functioning. The findings enhance understanding of the characteristics of treatment-seeking men and women with opioid dependence, and may be useful in improving identification, prevention, and treatment efforts for this challenging and growing population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-323
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Clinical Trials Network
  • Gender
  • Opioids
  • Prescription drugs
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparative profiles of men and women with opioid dependence: Results from a national multisite effectiveness trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this