Sex Differences in Comorbid Mental and Substance Use Disorders Among Primary Care Patients With Opioid Use Disorder

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.)


OBJECTIVE: The authors sought to characterize the 3-year prevalence of mental disorders and nonnicotine substance use disorders among male and female primary care patients with documented opioid use disorder across large U.S. health systems.

METHODS: This retrospective study used 2014-2016 data from patients ages ≥16 years in six health systems. Diagnoses were obtained from electronic health records or claims data; opioid use disorder treatment with buprenorphine or injectable extended-release naltrexone was determined through prescription and procedure data. Adjusted prevalence of comorbid conditions among patients with opioid use disorder (with or without treatment), stratified by sex, was estimated by fitting logistic regression models for each condition and applying marginal standardization.

RESULTS: Females (53.2%, N=7,431) and males (46.8%, N=6,548) had a similar prevalence of opioid use disorder. Comorbid mental disorders among those with opioid use disorder were more prevalent among females (86.4% vs. 74.3%, respectively), whereas comorbid other substance use disorders (excluding nicotine) were more common among males (51.9% vs. 60.9%, respectively). These differences held for those receiving medication treatment for opioid use disorder, with mental disorders being more common among treated females (83% vs. 71%) and other substance use disorders more common among treated males (68% vs. 63%). Among patients with a single mental health condition comorbid with opioid use disorder, females were less likely than males to receive medication treatment for opioid use disorder (15% vs. 20%, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: The high rate of comorbid conditions among patients with opioid use disorder indicates a strong need to supply primary care providers with adequate resources for integrated opioid use disorder treatment.

PubMed ID



ePub ahead of print

First Page


Last Page