Benzodiazepine Users More Likely to Suffer From Opioid Addiction Relapse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Zainab Samaan, MBChB, MSc, DMMD, PhD, MRCPsych Associate Professor Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences Member Population Genomics Program Member Peter Boris Centre for Addiction Research Associate Faculty Dept of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics McMaster University Hamilton, ON, Canada

Dr. Samaan

Dr. Zainab Samaan, MBChB, MSc, DMMD, PhD, MRCPsych
Associate Professor
Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences
Member Population Genomics Program
Member Peter Boris Centre for Addiction Research
Associate Faculty Dept of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
McMaster University
Hamilton, ON, Canada

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Opioid addiction has become a leading public health concern in North America with Canada leading the way in the amount of opioid use per capita. Opioid addiction has moved from heroin use by young men to prescription pain killers such as oxycodone and fentanyl with devastating impact on individuals and society including increasing number of deaths due to opioid overdose. In addition many people on treatment will also relapse (go back using drugs). We wanted to understand the problem of opioid addiction by investigating the factors that increase the risk of relapse in people with opioid addiction receiving methadone treatment.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: People who injected drugs and used benzodiazepines (BDZ) are more likely to relapse faster than people who did not use injection or benzodiazepines.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: For clinicians, be vigilant in your assessment of patients with specific questions and investigations to be tailored to uncover if a patient has an injection behaviour or using BZD, then they may require more frequent monitoring, have additional therapies such as psychosocial interventions and review methadone dose requirement with them.
For patients, if you have used injection or BDZ then tell your healthcare provider, ask for a psychiatric consult to see if you are using BDZ because you have other problems such as anxiety or insomnia, enlist your social support’s help in letting them know you are at risk of relapse especially during stressful times.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future research is ideally a long term follow up of patients entering treatment for opioid addiction, detailed assessment at baseline and frequent follow up for a year or longer (many patients are in treatment for an average of 4 years). Investigate biological predictors of relapse such as brain mechanisms.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Despite the fact that the study shows many people relapsed during a 6 month treatment period, the treatment remains needed and important to help reduce drug intake and improve stability even for the people who did not stop using opioids.

Citation:

Zainab Samaan, Leen Naji, Brittany Dennis, Monica Bawor, Carolyn Plater, Guillaume Pare, Andrew Worster, Michael Varenbut, Jeff Daiter, David Marsh, Lehana Thabane, Dipika Desai. A Prospective Study to Investigate Predictors of Relapse among Patients with Opioid Use Disorder Treated with Methadone. Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, 2016; 9 DOI: 10.4137/SART.S37030

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