No Clear Guidelines To Manage Pain After Surgical Procedures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Surgery” by mrpbps is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Sagar Patel MD
Facial Plastic Surgeon
Board Certified Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon
Facial Plastic Surgery Associates, Houston, Texas

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: While the majority of diverted opioids that are abused originate from pills prescribed for chronic conditions, with 214,000 rhinoplasties performed in the US in 2015, assessing opioid usage after rhinoplasty is an important view into prescription practices for acute pain after surgical procedures. Opioid use, pain control, and adverse effects were examined and opioid use was compared across patient demographic and surgical procedure characteristics, including rhinoplasty and septoplasty, open vs closed techniques, revision vs primary operations, reduction of turbinates, and use of osteotomies. Opioid use was self-reported as the number of prescribed tablets containing a combination of hydrocodone bitartrate (5 mg) and acetaminophen (325 mg) that were consumed. We them mathematically analyzed.

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Methadone As First Line Opioid in Cancer Pain Management

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sebastiano Mercadante, MD Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit and Pain Relief and Palliative Care Unit La Maddalena Cancer Center Department of Anesthesia, Intensive Care & Emergencies University of Palermo Palermo, Italy

Dr. Mercadante

Sebastiano Mercadante, MD
Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit and Pain Relief and Palliative Care Unit
La Maddalena Cancer Center
Department of Anesthesia, Intensive Care & Emergencies
University of Palermo
Palermo, Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There are many clinical experiences suggesting that methadone, when optimally used by skilled physicians, has invaluable properties in the management of cancer pain. Methadone used as first opioid may provide interesting advantages due to the low tendency to induce tolerance, while providing a clinical profile similar to that of other opioids. Moreover, methadone possesses other extra-opioid effects that can be of interest.

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Half Of People Who Died of Opioid Overdoses Tested Positive For Fentanyl

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“no drugs” by Anderson Mancini is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Julie K. O’Donnell, PhD
Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The opioid overdose epidemic has killed over 300,000 Americans from 1999 to 2015—including 33,091 in 2015. Over this time, the epidemic has evolved from being primarily driven by prescription opioids to increasingly being driven by illicit opioids. The first wave of the epidemic began in 1999 with a steep increase in deaths involving prescription opioids, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine. The second wave began in 2010 with rapid increases in overdose deaths involving heroin. The third wave of the epidemic began in 2013, with significant increases in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids—particularly those involving illicitly-manufactured fentanyl (IMF), which are commonly laced into heroin products. Most recently, the IMF market continues to evolve, with an ever-widening array of illicitly manufactured fentanyl analogs being distributed.

This report indicates that over half of people in 10 states who died of opioid overdoses tested positive for fentanyl during the second half of 2016. The report found that out of a total of 5,152 opioid overdose deaths, almost 3,000 tested positive for fentanyl, and over 700 tested positive for drugs that have similar chemical structures to fentanyl (fentanyl analogs) – including the extremely potent fentanyl analog, carfentanil, which is used to sedate large animals.

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Fewer Patients Receiving Opioids Alone Following Hip or Knee Replacement

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Philipp Gerner

MD Candidate – Class of 2018
University of Massachusetts Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Over 1 million patients undergo total joint replacement surgery in the United States alone every year, with many experiencing significant pain postoperatively. These procedures often require large amounts of pain medication to keep patients comfortable, which historically has been treated with opioids. Currently, increasing awareness of safe opioid prescribing has created an increased interest in other ways to effectively treat post-operative pain without the dangers and side-effects of opioids.

As part of an analysis of the impact of multimodal pain management (i.e. multiple drug classes or procedures to treat post-operative pain) and opioid usage, we conducted this study to considered how trends have changed over the last 10 years. Our data shows that opioid use for post-operative pain has declined substantially in patients undergoing total hip and knee arthroplasty (THA & TKA), two very common and often painful orthopedic procedures. Patients being treated with opioids alone for THA decreased from 47.6% in 2006 to 7.5% in 2016, with similar trends being seen in TKA patients.

Importantly, our data also showed that patients are increasingly being treated with a multimodal approach to pain control; especially patients being treated with 3 or more different pain modalities increased sharply in the last 10 years for both procedures in our study. This allows patients the benefit of managing their pain without many of the side-effect associated with large doses of a single pain medication. This trend was found to be especially true in small and medium sized hospitals, compared to larger hospitals. With increasing emphasis on limiting opioid use, this data shows us that the medical community is actively pursuing alternate possibilities for successfully treating post-operative pain.

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Trends in Opioid-Related Inpatient Stays Shifted After Switch to ICD-10 Coding

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D. Senior Research Scientist Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Rockville MD 20857

Dr. Elixhauser

Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Rockville MD 20857

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Hospital inpatient data began using ICD-10-CM (I-10) codes on October 1, 2015.  We have been doing analysis using the new codeset to determine to what extent we can follow trends crossing the ICD transition—do the trends look consistent when we switch from I-9 to I-10?  Tracking the opioid epidemic is a high priority so we made this one of our first detailed analyses.  We were surprised to find that hospital stays jumped 14% across the transition, compared to a 5% quarterly increase before the transition (under I-9) and a 3.5% quarterly increase after the transition (under I-10).  The largest increase (63.2%) was for adverse effects in therapeutic use (side effects of legal drugs), whereas stays involving opioid abuse decreased 21% and opioid poisoning (overdose) decreased 12.4%.

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Opioid Overdoses Biggest Cause of Decreasing Life Expectancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Deborah Dowell, MD MPH
Senior Medical Advisor
Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Increases in U.S. life expectancy at birth have leveled off from an average of 0.20 years gained per year from 1970 to 2000 to 0.15 years gained per year from 2000 to 2014. U.S. life expectancy decreased from 2014 to 2015 and is now lower than in most high-income countries, with this gap projected to increase.
Drug poisoning (overdose) death rates more than doubled in the United States from 2000-2015; those involving opioids more than tripled. Increases in poisoning have been reported to have reduced life expectancy for non-Hispanic white Americans from 2000-2014. Specific contributions of drug, opioid, and alcohol poisoning to changes in U.S. life expectancy since 2000 were unknown.

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Medicaid Patients Who Overdose Likely To Get More Opioids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Julie M. Donohue, Ph.D. Associate professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and  Management and Director of the Medicaid Research Center Pitt’s Health Policy Institute University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Donohue

Julie M. Donohue, Ph.D.
Associate professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and
Management and Director of the Medicaid Research Center
Pitt’s Health Policy Institute
University of Pittsburgh 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Medicaid enrollees have three times higher risk of opioid overdose than non-enrollees, and for every fatal opioid overdose, there are about 30 nonfatal overdoses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). My colleagues and I analyzed claims data from 2008 to 2013 for all Pennsylvania Medicaid enrollees aged 12 to 64 years with a medical record of a heroin or prescription opioid overdose and who had six months of continuous enrollment in Medicaid before and after the overdose claim. The 6,013 patients identified were divided into two groups—3,945 who overdosed on prescription opioids and 2,068 who overdosed on heroin, all of whom received treatment for overdose in a hospital or emergency department setting.

We found that Pennsylvania Medicaid recipients who suffer an opioid or heroin overdose continue to be prescribed opioids at high rates, with little change in their use of medication-assisted treatment programs after the overdose. Opioid prescriptions were filled after overdose by 39.7 percent of the patients who overdosed on heroin, a decrease of 3.5 percentage points from before the overdose; and by 59.6 percent of the patients who overdosed on prescription opioids, a decrease of 6.5 percentage points.

Medication-assisted treatment includes coupling prescriptions for buprenorphine, methadone or naltrexone—medications that can reduce opioid cravings—with behavioral therapy in an effort to treat the opioid use disorder. Our team found that such treatment increased modestly among the patients using heroin by 3.6 percentage points to 33 percent after the overdose, and by 1.6 percentage points to 15.1 percent for the prescription opioid overdose patients.

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Acupuncture and Electrotherapy Following Knee Replacement May Limit Opioid Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tina Hernandez-Boussard, PhD MPH, MS Associate Professor of Medicine, Biomedical Data Science, and Surgery Stanford School of Medicine Stanford, CA 94305-5479

Dr. Hernandez-Boussard

Tina Hernandez-Boussard, PhD MPH, MS
Associate Professor of Medicine, Biomedical Data Science, and Surgery
Stanford School of Medicine
Stanford, CA 94305-5479

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Opioid addiction is a national crisis.  As surgery is thought to be a gateway to opioid misuse, opioid-sparing approaches for pain management following surgery are a top priority.

We conducted a meta-analysis of 39 randomized clinical trials of common non-pharmalogical interventions used for postoperative pain management.

We found that acupuncture and electrotherapy following total knee replacement reduced or delayed patients’ opioid use.

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Opioid Prescriptions Common Among Cancer Survivors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rinku Sutradhar, Ph.D. Senior Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health University of Toronto, Canada

Dr. Sutradhar

Rinku Sutradhar, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
University of Toronto, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

  • We suspected that pain was prevalent among survivors of cancer, but there were no comprehensive estimates on the magnitude of this prevalence. For example, recent work had reported pain prevalence among cancer survivors to be anywhere from 5% to 56%, which is quite a wide range.
  • To our knowledge, there has been no prior research conducted at the individual-level that specifically examines opioid prescribing rates for cancer survivors, compared to matched control groups who have no prior cancer diagnosis.
  • We also know that socio-economically disadvantaged populations are more at risk for opioid dependency, but previous studies have not examined cancer survivors who a part of this disadvantaged group, so this is an important knowledge gap to fill.
  • We found that cancer survivors have significantly higher rates of opioid prescriptions compared with their matched controls (who had no prior cancer diagnosis). In fact, after adjusting for other study factors, we found that the rate of opioid prescriptions was 22% higher among survivors.
  • MOST SURPRISING: This higher rate of opioid prescriptions persisted even among survivors who were 10 or more years past their cancer diagnosis (compared to matched control individuals who had no prior cancer diagnosis).
  • When we broke the cohort down based on the type of cancer, we didn’t see a significant spike in opioid prescriptions for breast cancer survivors compared to their non-cancer controls, but we did see higher opioid prescriptions for survivors of lung, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, or gynaecological cancers, compared to their controls.

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More Babies Experiencing Neonatal Drug Withdrawal After Exposure To Opioids and Psychotropic Meds

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Krista F. Huybrechts, M.S., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Epidemiologist in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Boston, MA 02120

Dr. Krista Huybrechts

Krista F. Huybrechts, MS PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02120

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Neonatal drug withdrawal is common; in the U.S. about 1 infant is born every 25 minutes with signs of drug withdrawal. Neonatal drug withdrawal is a well-recognized complication of intrauterine exposure to illicit or prescription opioids, but other psychotropic medications can also cause signs of withdrawal. Psychotropic medications are frequently co-prescribed with opioids in pregnancy, and the use of both has increased significantly, raising concerns about an increase in the incidence and severity of neonatal drug withdrawal due to potential drug-drug interactions, but these risks are not well understood.

In this study, we found a 30-60% increase in the risk of neonatal drug withdrawal associated with co-exposure to antidepressants, benzodiazepines and gabapentin, compared to opioids alone; no significant increase in risk was observed for atypical antipsychotics and Z-drugs. Exposure to psychotropic polypharmacy along with opioids was associated with a two-fold increased risk of withdrawal.

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Drug-Related Deaths Among Whites Soar But Alcohol and Suicide Mortality Stable

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Andrea M. Tilstra
Doctoral Student, Department of Sociology
Population Program, Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado Boulder and
Ryan K. Masters
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Faculty Associate, Population Program and Health & Society Program
Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado Boulder

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  “Despair” deaths – deaths from suicides, alcohol poisonings, and drug overdoses – have been a topic of interest in recent mortality research. For instance, existing findings suggest that mortality among white Americans has increased as a result of middle-aged whites experiencing elevated levels of despair and distress. These factors supposedly are driving white Americans to cope in unhealthy ways – excessive drinking, drug use, and suicides.

However, there were two major problems with the existing research that supported this narrative. First, men and women were analyzed together, despite the knowledge that overall mortality levels and trends differ significantly by gender. Second, all three of the aforementioned causes of death were pooled together and analyzed as one group. This is highly problematic if deaths from suicides, alcohol use, and drug use are not, in fact, moving in conjunction with one another. We addressed these issues and expanded previous analyses by analyzing cause-specific death rates for men and women separately, for years 1980-2014, and decomposing the trends into period- and cohort- based analyses.

We find that there are huge gender differences in U.S. white mortality rates and that trends in mortality from the three causes of death are quite distinct from one another. Recent increases in U.S. white mortality are largely driven by period-based increases in drug poisoning deaths and cohort-based increases in metabolic disease deaths.

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Prescription Opioids Increasingly Found In Fatally Injured Drivers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stanford Chihuri, MPH Staff Associate/Data Analyst Department of Anesthesiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons Columbia University Medical Center NY, NY 10032

Stanford Chihuri

Stanford Chihuri, MPH
Staff Associate/Data Analyst
Department of Anesthesiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University Medical Center
NY, NY 10032 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In the past 2 decades, consumption of prescription opioids has substantially increased in the U.S. Prescription drugs may cause drowsiness and impaired cognition which may interfere with psychomotor functioning necessary during the operation of a motor vehicle. The current study assessed time trends in prescription opioids detected in drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes from 1995 to 2015 in 6 states in the U.S.

Results of the study showed that the prevalence of prescription opioids detected in fatally injured drivers has increased 700% in the past 2 decades.

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Primary Care Practice Interventions Helped Maintain Adherence to Opioid Prescription Guidelines

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jane M. Liebschutz, MD, MPH Associate Professor of Medicine Section of General Internal Medicine Boston University School of Medicine Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Liebschutz

Jane M. Liebschutz, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine
Section of General Internal Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston, Massachusetts

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The number of patients receiving opioids for chronic pain has risen over the past 2 decades in the US, in parallel with an increase in opioid use disorder. The CDC and professional medical societies have created clinical guidelines to improve the safety of opioid prescribing, yet individual prescribers can find them onerous to implement.

We developed an intervention to change clinical practice to support primary care physicians who prescribe the majority of opioids for chronic pain. The intervention included 4 elements- a nurse care manager to help assess, educate and monitor patients, an electronic registry to keep track of patient data and produce physician level reports, an individualized educational session for the physician by an opioid prescribing expert based on the physician-specific practice information and online resources to help with decision-making for opioid prescribing (www.mytopcare.org). We tested whether the intervention would improve adherence to guidelines, decrease opioid doses and decrease early refills, as a marker of potential prescription opioid misuse among 985 patients of 53 primary care clinicians in four primary care practices.

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Opioid Prescriptions Decrease But Still Elevated Compared To 20 Years Ago

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Deborah Dowell, MD, MPH Chief Medical Officer, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Dowell

Deborah Dowell, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: CDC analyzed retail prescription data from QuintilesIMS which provides estimates of the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed in the United States from approximately 59,000 pharmacies, representing 88% of prescriptions in the United States. CDC assessed opioid prescribing in the United States from 2006 to 2015, including rates, amounts, dosages, and durations prescribed. CDC examined county-level prescribing patterns in 2010 and 2015.
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Optimistic Results From Phase 3 Study of RBP-6000 Buprenorphine Monthly Depot for Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder

Medical Research.com Interview with:

Dr. Christian Heidbreder, PhD Chief Scientific Officer Indivior Inc. Richmond, VA 23235, USA

Dr. Heidbreder

Dr. Christian Heidbreder, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Indivior Inc.
Richmond, VA 23235, USA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial (RB-US-13-0001) evaluated the efficacy and safety of RBP-6000, an investigational once-monthly injectable buprenorphine in the ATRIGEL® delivery system for the treatment of adults with moderate-to-severe opioid use disorder (OUD) as part of a complete treatment plan to include counseling and psychosocial support1.

The 24-week Phase 3 study met its primary and key secondary endpoints, demonstrating statistically significant differences in percentage abstinence and treatment success across both dosage regimens of RBP-6000 versus placebo1.

The findings also showed that outcomes with RBP-6000 are consistent across other secondary clinical endpoints, including control of craving and withdrawal symptoms, as compared to placebo. These outcomes were associated with buprenorphine plasma concentrations ≥ 2 ng/mL and predicted whole brain mu-opioid receptor occupancy of ≥ 70%, and were also maintained for the one-month dosing intervals and for the entire treatment duration1.

The results were confirmed by exposure-response analyses demonstrating a relationship between buprenorphine plasma concentrations, abstinence, withdrawal symptoms and opioid craving1.

RBP-6000 was generally well tolerated and had a safety profile consistent with that of transmucosal buprenorphine. Injection site reactions were not treatment-limiting. The most common (reported in ≥ 5% of subjects) treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) reported in the active total group were constipation, headache, nausea, injection site pruritus, vomiting, increased hepatic enzyme, fatigue and injection site pain1.

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Most Youth With Opioid Disorders Do Not Receive Medications For Addiction

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Scott Hadland, MD, MPH, MS Youth Addiction Specialist Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Boston University School of Medicine

Dr. Hadland

Scott Hadland, MD, MPH, MS
Youth Addiction Specialist
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Boston University School of Medicine
Director, Urban Health and Advocacy Track, Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center
Associate Program Director, Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Almost no data have been available on this topic to date.  A recent study showed that teens in subspecialty treatment for opioid addiction were significantly less likely than adults to receive a medication.  Our study was the first to comprehensively look across the health care system, including looking at adolescents and young adults diagnosed with opioid use disorder in outpatient clinics, emergency departments, and inpatient hospitals.

We had three important findings.  First, looking at a large sample of 9.7 million adolescents and young adults between the age of 13 and 25 years, we found that the number of youth diagnosed with opioid use disorder increased six-fold from 2001 to 2014.  This is perhaps not surprising given the national opioid crisis we know to be occurring.

Second, we found that only a minority of youth (1 in 4) received buprenorphine or naltrexone, the two medications available for opioid addiction that can be prescribed in usual medical settings.  These two medications are evidence-based and their use is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Utilizing them is critical to ensure that we offer effective treatment early in the life course of addiction, which can help prevent the long-term harms of addiction.

Third, we found significant differences in who received medications.  Whereas approximately 1 in 3 young adults in our study received a medication, only 1 in 10 of the 16- and 17-year-olds we studied received one, and among adolescents under 15 years of age, 1 in 67 received a medication.  Females were less likely than males to receive medications, as were black youth and Hispanic youth relative to white youth.

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Peeling Back the Curtain on Regional Variation in the Opioid Crisis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robin Gelburd, JD President FAIR Health

Robin Gelburd

Robin Gelburd, JD
President
FAIR Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The opioid crisis is affecting the entire nation, but not in the same way in every location. Although a number of studies have been conducted on geographic variations in the opioid epidemic, there remains a need for more information on the regional level. To help meet that need, FAIR Health consulted its database of more than 23 billion privately billed healthcare claims, the largest such repository in the country. Focusing on the most recent complete ten-year period (2007-2016), FAIR Health examined claims data from rural and urban settings, the country’s five most populous cities (Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia) and the states where those cities are located.

When the term “opioid-related diagnoses” is used in this study, it refers to opioid abuse, opioid dependence, heroin overdose and opioid overdose (i.e., overdose of opioids excluding heroin).
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Heroin Epidemic Costs US Over $50 Billion Per Year

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

A. Simon Pickard, PhD

Dr. Pickard

A. Simon Pickard, PhD
Professor, Dept of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy
University of Ilinois at Chicago
College of Pharmacy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The heroin epidemic, which has left virtually no part of American society unscathed, can be viewed as an illness.  Unlike some illnesses, however, it was largely manufactured by stakeholders in the healthcare system, wittingly or unwittingly.

The main finding, that heroin addiction costs us just over $50 billion per year, is likely a conservative estimate.

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Opioid Agonist Therapy Found Cost Effective In Preventing HIV in People Who Inject Drugs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cora Bernard, MS, PhD candidate Pre-doctoral Student in Management Science and Enginnering Affiliate, Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research Stanford Health Policy

Cora Bernard

Cora Bernard, MS, PhD candidate
Pre-doctoral Student in Management Science and Enginnering
Affiliate, Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research
Stanford Health Policy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The US opioid epidemic is leading to an increase in the US drug-injecting population, which also increases the risks of HIV transmission. It is critical to public health that the US invests in a coherent and cost-effective suite of HIV prevention programs. In our model-based analysis, we considered programs that have the potential both to prevent HIV and to improve long-term health outcomes for people who inject drugs. Specifically, we evaluated opioid agonist therapy, which reduces the frequency of injection; needle and syringe exchange programs, which reduce the frequency of injecting equipment sharing; enhanced HIV screening and antiretroviral therapy programs, which virally suppress individuals and decrease downstream transmission; and oral HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which is taken by an uninfected individual and lowers the risk of infection.

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Post-Surgical Medications Are Major Cause Of New Chronic Opioid Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chad M. Brummett, M.D. Associate Professor Director, Clinical Anesthesia Research Director, Pain Research Department of Anesthesiology Division of Pain Medicine University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, MI  48109

Dr. Brummett

Chad M. Brummett, M.D.
Associate Professor
Director, Clinical Anesthesia Research
Director, Pain Research
Department of Anesthesiology
Division of Pain Medicine
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, MI  48109 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The opioid epidemic has received tremendous attention in recent years, but most of the focus has been on chronic pain, opioid abuse and overdose. Far less attention has been paid to the importance of acute care prescribing (e.g. surgical pain) in patients that are not chronic opioid users.

We found that 5-6% of patients not using opioids prior to surgery continued to fill prescriptions for opioids long after what would be considered normal surgical recovery. Moreover, the rates of new chronic use did not differ between patients having major and minor surgeries, suggesting that patients continue to use these pain medications for something other than simply pain from surgery. Building on other work by our group, and the few additional studies done on the topic to date, these data suggest that pain medications written for surgery are a major cause of new chronic opioid use for millions of Americans each year.

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Proove Opioid Risk Profile Predictive of Opioid Use Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Maneesh Sharma, M.D</strong> Director of Pain Medicine MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Director of the Interventional Pain Institute Baltimore, Maryland

Dr. Maneesh Sharma

Maneesh Sharma, M.D
Director of Pain Medicine
MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
Medical Director of the Interventional Pain Institute
Baltimore, Maryland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Opioid abuse in chronic pain patients is a major public health issue, with rapidly increasing addiction rates and deaths from unintentional overdose more than quadrupling since 1999. Just in the last year alone according to the CDC, synthetic opioid deaths have increased 72%. As a practicing interventional pain specialist, I am confronted with the challenge of assessing patient risk for opioids as I evaluate multi-modal approaches to effective pain management. Existing tools are inadequate, as they either rely on a urine toxicology test to evaluate a patient’s current potential substance abuse as a predictor of future abuse, or on a patient’s honesty to fill out a questionnaire. We know that many patients who are not currently abusing illicit drugs or misusing prescription medications can develop prescription opioid tolerance, dependence, or abuse—especially with prolonged opioid therapy. Furthermore, we know that patients who are looking to abuse medications or divert those prescriptions will obviously lie on questionnaires.
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Millions of Americans Become Chronic Opioid Users After Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chad M. Brummett, MD Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Dr. Brummett

Chad M. Brummett, MD
Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The opioid epidemic has received considerable attention, but most of the focus has been on chronic pain and primary care. However, surgeons prescribe ~40% of the opioids in the US, and little attention has been given to the importance of prescribing after surgery.

In this study, we found that among patients not using opioids in the year prior to surgery, ~6% of patients continued to use opioids long after what would be considered normal surgical recovery. Furthermore, there was no difference between patients undergoing minor and major surgeries, thereby suggesting that some patients continue to use opioids for reasons other than pain related to surgery.

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Animal Study Suggests Lorcaserin (Belviq®) May be Useful to Reduce Opioid Intake

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christina R. Merritt and Kathryn A. Cunningham
Center for Addiction Research
University of Texas Medical Branch
Galveston, TX 77555

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Opioid use disorder (OUD) is one of the top public health problems in the United States. Overdoses on prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl accounted for 33,091 deaths in the U.S. in 2015 (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm655051e1.htm); each day, 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose (https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/). The first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health (https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/ ) observed that more people used prescription opioids than tobacco in 2015. Furthermore, individuals with OUD, the most problematic pattern of opioid abuse, often relapse, particularly in environments associated with past drug use, and new means to help maintain abstinence are needed.

Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) function in the brain, particularly through its cognate 5-HT2C receptor, is an important regulator of the abuse liability of cocaine and other psychostimulants. Previous studies suggested that the weight loss medication and selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist lorcaserin (Belviq®) can curb cocaine- and nicotine-seeking in preclinical models, even when tested in tempting environments. We administered lorcaserin to rats who were trained to take the powerful painkiller oxycodone (OxyContin®), a prescription opioid currently approved for treatment of acute and chronic pain with characteristically high abuse potential. Lorcaserin suppressed oxycodone intake as well as the drug-seeking behaviors observed when rats were exposed to cues such as the lights and sounds previously associated with drug intake. Taken together, these findings highlights the therapeutic potential for lorcaserin to extend abstinence and enhance recovery from OUD.

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The Opioid Epidemic and Orthopaedic Pain Management

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Hammoud

Dr. Sommer Hammoud

Dr. Sommer Hammoud MD
ABOS Board Certified Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery
Thomas Jefferson University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The background for this exhibit stemmed from the growing problem of prescription opioid abuse in the United States.  As we saw this issue developing, we aimed to investigate the history behind this epidemic, what information we have now to fight it, and what information we need in the future to improve care our patients.

Our main findings for each of those aims are the following:

1) It would appear that a large push at the end of the last century led to a lower threshold to prescribe opiates in the effort to control pain, leading to the current opioid epidemic
2) Mulitmodal methods of pain control and the expanding skill of regional anesthesia can be used to help decrease narcotic use and thus limit exposure to narcotics, and
3) Future research needs to focus on the psychologic aspect of patients’ ability to manage pain and we should strive to be able to categorize patients in order to create an individualized pain management protocol which will most effectively manage pain.

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Long-Term Opioid Use Increases With Each Additional Day On Opioid Therapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anuj Shah (B.Pharm)

Doctoral Student
Division of Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The CDC guideline on opioid prescribing, published in March 2016, included recommendations for initiation of opioid therapy. The guideline noted that there is a lack of data describing how acute opioid use transitions to long-term opioid use. This report seeks to address this gap by determining characteristics of initial opioid prescribing prognostic of long-term use, among opioid naïve cancer-free adults.
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Combination Opioids and Benzodiazepines Raises Risk of Overdose

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eric C Sun MD PhD, assistant professor Department of Anesthesiology Perioperative and Pain Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA

Dr. Eric Sun

Eric C Sun MD PhD, assistant professor
Department of Anesthesiology
Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, CA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There have been large increases in opioid-related adverse events over the past decade. The goal of our study was to examine the extent to which these increases may have been driven by combined use of opioids and benzodiazepines, a combination that is known to be potentially risky. Overall, we found that the combined use of opioids and benzodiazepines nearly doubled (80% increase) between 2001 and 2013, and that opioid users who also used benzodiazepines were at a higher risk of an opioid-related adverse event. Indeed, our results suggest eliminating the combined use of opioids and benzodiazepines could have reduced the population risk of an opioid-related adverse event by 15%.

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Cedars-Sinai Study Will Address How Doctors Communicate With Patients About Chronic Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michelle S. Keller, MPH, PhD Candidate

Health Policy and Management
Cedars-Sinai
Los Angeles CA 90048

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this new funding award?

Response: Research shows that treating and managing chronic pain is tough, and it can be hard for patients and their physicians to be on the same page. Chronic pain touches so many facets of people’s lives—relationships, mental health, sleep, work—that treating it in a 15-minute visit can lead to a lot of frustration and disappointment.

Our hope is that by arming patients and clinicians with evidence-based tools, we can help foster a better dialogue about what is ultimately important to patients, how to achieve fully functional lives while managing chronic pain. We’re testing two different types of communication tools: electronic health record alerts pointing physicians to guidelines when they write opioid prescriptions and patient portal-based tools that can help patients prepare for visits and become active, engaged partners in their care.

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Fentanyl Laced Heroin Contributing To Spike In Heroin Overdoses in Miami-Dade County

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alexander Diaz Bode

M.D. Candidate
University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
Miami, FL

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our country is in the midst of an opiate epidemic. This is particularly evident in the emergency department (ED), which continues to see an alarmingly large number heroin overdose. With the shutdown of “pill-mills”, where opioid prescriptions would be prescribed indiscriminately, Florida has seen particularly large increases in opiate use and overdose. In Miami, we noticed that during the summer of 2016, there was a disproportionate increase in heroin overdose being treated at our hospital relative to previous years. Our recently published study showed that fentanyl or fentanyl analog laced heroin likely contributed to this massive spike in heroin overdose observed during the summer of 2016.

Fentanyl and its synthetic analogs are opioid receptor agonists that bind with hundreds of times higher affinity than diamorphine, aka heroin. Naloxone, better known by the brand name Narcan®, is used to reverse heroin overdose in the ED. This drug works by competitively inhibiting the opioid receptor, effectively “knocking off” the bound heroin. Using naloxone dosing as a surrogate marker of heroin purity, our study found that during the investigated spike there was a disproportionate increase in the amount of naloxone used in our ED to reverse overdose relative to the increase in opiate overdose. This indicated that a stronger opioid receptor agonist, such as fentanyl or fentanyl analogs, likely was involved in the massive spike in overdose observed during the summer of 2016.

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Medical Cannabis May Be Effective Substitute for Opioids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Philippe Lucas VP, Patient Research & Access, Tilray Graduate Researcher, Centre for Addictions Research of BC

Philippe Lucas

Philippe Lucas
VP, Patient Research & Access, Tilray
Graduate Researcher, Centre for Addictions Research of BC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In 2001 Canada become one of the first nations to develop a federally regulated program to allow access to cannabis for medical purposes with the launch of the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). The program has undergone numerous convolutions, culminating in the establishment by Health Canada of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) in 2014, which was replaced by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes (ACMPR) in 2016.

One of the primary changes in the new program(s) has been to move from a single Licensed Producer (LP) of cannabis to multiple large-scale Licensed Producers. This is the first comprehensive survey of patients enrolled in the MMPR/ACMPR, and with 271 complete responses, it’s the largest survey of federally-authorized medical cannabis patients to date.

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Premature Midlife Deaths Increase in US Whites and Native Americans

Dr. Meredith Shiels

Dr. Meredith Shiels

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Meredith S Shiels

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
National Cancer Institute
Bethesda, MD

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In most high-income countries, premature death rates have been declining, due to the overwhelming successes of public health efforts to prevent and treat chronic disease. The US is a major outlier, where death rates overall have plateaued, or even increased, as reported recently by our sister agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of particular concern are recent reports of increasing death rates among Americans during mid-life.

To expand upon prior findings, we focused on premature death, which we defined as death occurring between the ages of 25 and 64. We examined finely detailed death certificate data for the entire U.S. population and described changes in death rates during 1999-2014 by cause of death, sex, race, ethnicity, and geography. To provide context to our findings, we compared trends in death rates in the U.S. to England and Wales and Canada.

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Reasons for Drug Policy Reform: Millions of People are Left with Untreated Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Katherine Irene Pettus, PhD, OSB

Advocacy Officer International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care
Vice Chair, Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs
Secretary NGO Committee on Ageing, Geneva

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The background for this study is analysis of the three international drug control treaties, official attendance and participation at meetings of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the past four years, ongoing discussion of national opioid consumption rates with INCB, and years of home hospice visits in developing countries.

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Do Financial Conflicts Influence CDC Guidelines For Prescription Opioids?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dora Lin, MHS
Sr. Research Assistant
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness
Baltimore, MD 21205 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In response to the opioid epidemic and growing number of overdose deaths each year, the CDC released draft guidelines to improve the safe use of opioids in primary care. The draft guidelines were open to public comment, and many organizations, ranging from professional societies to consumer advocates to local governmental organizations, submitted comments regarding the guidelines. We examined the levels of support or non-support for the draft guidelines among the 158 organizations who submitted comments.   We also examined each organization’s relationship to opioid manufacturers. Most organizations supported the guidelines, regardless of whether or not they had a financial relationship to a drug company. However, organizations receiving funding from opioid manufacturers were significantly more likely to be opposed to the guidelines than those who did not receive such funding.

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Opioid Emergencies Increased Almost 100% in Some States

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Claudia Steiner, M.D., MPH.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Rockville, MD

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has a longstanding project and partnership, The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP, pronounced “H-Cup”). HCUP is a family of health care databases and related software tools and products developed through a Federal-State-Industry partnership. HCUP databases bring together the data collection efforts of State data organizations, hospital associations, and private data organizations (HCUP Partners) and the Federal government to create a national information resource of encounter-level health care data. HCUP includes the largest collection of longitudinal hospital care data in the United States, with all-payer, encounter-level information. These databases enable research on a broad range of health policy issues, including cost and quality of health services, medical practice patterns, access to health care programs, and outcomes of treatments at the national, State, and local market levels.

The HCUP Partners recognized the urgency of providing descriptive statistics to help inform the growing opioid epidemic in the U.S., and therefore agreed to supporting this statistical brief as well as the Opioid-Related Hospital Use path on Fast Stats: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/faststats/landing.jsp

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Rural Babies Increasingly Affected By Opioid Epidemic

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nicole Villapiano, MD, MSc

Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics
Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Over the past few years, research has highlighted that the opioid epidemic is accelerating at a rapid pace across the United States, including in rural areas. What we don’t know is how the opioid crisis is affecting rural moms and their infants.
As a doctor that takes care of kids, I was concerned about this. So our team took on this study to explore the differences in rates of maternal opioid use and neonatal abstinence syndrome in rural and urban areas of the US from 2004-2013.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome is what happens to babies who are exposed to opioids in their mothers’ womb. When these babies are born and no longer have opioid exposure from mom, they go through a period of opioid withdrawal. These babies can have symptoms that range from difficulty taking a bottle, jitteriness, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and discomfort to more serious problems like prematurity, difficulty breathing, and seizures. Symptoms can last several days to many weeks. Babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome are in the hospital longer than the average newborn, and sometimes require special treatment to help control their symptoms.

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Fewer African Americans, More Whites Injecting Drugs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cyprian Wejnert, Ph.D. National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention CDC

Dr. Cyprian Wejnert

Cyprian Wejnert, Ph.D.
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our country is dealing with a devastating epidemic of opioid misuse and overdose that affects individuals, families and communities. We have long known that sharing needles and syringes is an incredibly efficient route for HIV, hepatitis and other infections to spread.

Yet, about 10% of annual HIV diagnoses in the United States occur among people who inject drugs, and there are clusters of hepatitis C infections across the country. These infections can be prevented when people who inject drugs use sterile needles, syringes and other injection equipment. One of the main findings of this study is that use of syringe services programs (SSPs) has increased substantially during the past decade, but most people who inject drugs still don’t always use sterile needles.

The analysis finds that more than half (54%) of people who inject drugs in 22 cities with a high number of HIV cases reported in 2015 they used an SSP in the past year, compared to only about one-third (36%) in 2005. Although syringe services program use has increased, findings indicate that too few people who inject drugs use only sterile needles. One in three (33%) reported in 2015 that they had shared a needle within the past year – about the same percentage that reported sharing a decade ago (36% in 2005).

The report also highlights some successes in HIV prevention among African Americans and Latinos who inject drugs, as well as concerning trends in whites who inject drugs. From our study of 22 urban areas, it appears that fewer African Americans are injecting drugs. However, it also appears there has been an increase in white Americans injecting drugs.

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Rapid Rise in Opioid Poisonings and Hospitalizations Among Children and Adolescents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Julie R Gaither, PhD, MPH, RN Postdoctoral Fellow in Biostatistics Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Julie R Gaither

Julie R Gaither, PhD, MPH, RN
Postdoctoral Fellow in Biostatistics
Yale School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In light of the prescription opioid epidemic that has affected the adult US population in recent years, our objective with this study was to examine how hospitalization rates for prescription opioid poisonings have changed over time in the pediatric population.

In addition, because prescription opioids are thought to be a precursor to illicit opioid use, we examined in older adolescents hospitalization rates for heroin overdose.

In all children, we determined whether the poisoning was of an accidental nature or could be attributed to suicidal intent.

To address these questions, we used the Kids’ Inpatient Database, a nationally representatives sample of pediatric hospital records released every three years, starting in 1997.

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Managers Frequently Encounter Drug Use and Overdoses in Business Bathrooms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brett Wolfson-Stofko, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow Behavioral Science Training Program Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research Rory Meyers College of Nursing New York University New York, NY 10003 Research Associate Institute for Special Populations National Development & Research Institutes, Inc.

Dr. Brett Wolfson-Stofko

Brett Wolfson-Stofko, PhD Post-Doctoral Fellow
Behavioral Science Training Program
Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research
Rory Meyers College of Nursing
New York University New York, NY 10003
Research Associate Institute for Special Populations
National Development & Research Institutes, Inc.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Drug overdose mortality rates per year continue to rise in the US. Previous research suggests that public bathrooms are among the most popular public injection locations for people who inject drugs (PWID) in New York City. Though syringe exchange programs provide sterile injection equipment they are not authorized to offer a safe and sanitary space for injection which leads many, particularly those that are unstably housed, to inject in public spaces. This study interviewed 86 business managers throughout NYC and 58% (n = 50) of these managers had encountered drug use in their business bathroom within the past 6 months. Over one-third found improperly disposed syringes and 14% encountered unresponsive individuals. Only 10% of managers reported some form of overdose recognition and naloxone training while 64% of managers thought overdose recognition and naloxone training would be useful for them and their staff.

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Liposomal Bupivacaine Infiltration Reduced Costs and Opioid Use in TKA Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bryan Sakamoto MD, PhD
Department of Anesthesia
Richard L. Roudebush, Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Department of Anesthesia
Indiana University School of Medicine
Indianapolis, Indiana

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Liposomal bupivacaine is a novel extended-duration anesthetic that has recently become a popular option in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) for post-operative pain management. Although liposomal bupivacaine is widely used, it is unknown if the benefits justify the cost in the veteran population at our institution. The main purpose of this medication use study was to evaluate the cost verses benefit of using this agent in our veteran patient population.

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Sharp Rise in Heroin Use Among Young Adults Who Use Nonmedical Prescription Opioids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Silvia S. Martins, MD, PHD Associate Professor of Epidemiology  Department of Epidemiology Mailman School Of Public Health Columbia University New York, NY 10032

Dr. Silvia Martins

Silvia S. Martins, MD, PHD
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology
Mailman School Of Public Health
Columbia University
New York, NY 10032

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Given the high probability of nonmedical use among adolescents and young adults, the potential development of prescription opioid use disorder secondary to nonmedical use among youth represents an important and growing public health concern. Still, no study had investigated time trends, specifically if prescription opioid use disorder has increased in the past decade among adolescents, emerging adults and young adults who are nonmedical users of prescription opioids.

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Opioid Overdose Associated With Even Higher Health Care Costs Than Dependence or Abuse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jaren Howard, PharmD, BCPS Associate Director, Medical Affairs Strategic Research Purdue Pharma L.P.

Dr. Jared Howard

Jaren Howard, PharmD, BCPS
Associate Director
Medical Affairs Strategic Research
Purdue Pharma L.P.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The existing scientific literature estimating the healthcare burden of opioid misuse disorders often combines all patients within the broad category of “opioid abuse,” defined as opioid abuse, dependence, or overdose/poisoning.
Collectively, these three conditions can significantly increase healthcare costs among commercially insured patients.

• Real world medical coding practices present challenges to researchers aiming to separately analyze excess costs by diagnosis, though combining these diagnoses may mask some variation in excess costs.

• Furthermore, little is known about the specific drivers of excess costs in terms of medical conditions driving excess costs or places of service at the diagnosis-level.

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Fewer Physicians Than Anticipated Treat Opioid Use Disorder With Buprenorphine

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bradley D. Stein, MD, MPH, PhD RAND Corporation University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dr. Bradley Stein

Bradley D. Stein, MD, MPH, PhD
RAND Corporation
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The United States is in the midst of a serious opioid abuse epidemic and we know that medically assisted treatment is one of the best ways to help people with addiction to opioids. The drug buprenorphine has advantages over methadone, the historic medical treatment, because it can be prescribed by physicians in the community who receive a waiver allowing them to prescribe it after undergoing eight hours of training.. Methadone is dispensed at special clinics that many people with opioid addition may be unable to get to with the frequency required by effective treatment.

To better understand patterns of the use of buprenorphine, we examined treatment patterns in the states with the most buprenorphine-waivered physicians (California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas). Our data came from a prescription records that account for over 80 percent of the retail pharmacies in the nation. We examined use patterns among 3,200 physicians who treated 250,000 patients.

We had two surprising findings: 
First, the median length of treatment with buprenorphine was 53 days, which is much shorter than the duration that most individuals are likely to need for optimal results. Second, despite concerns that federal limits on the number of patients and waivered physician can treat being a significant barrier for many individuals obtaining treatment, we found that most physicians were treating far fewer patients than would be allowed by the patient limits. In fact, 22 percent of the physicians treated an average of 3 patients per month and just 9 percent treated 75 or more patients per month.

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Survey Attempts To Separate ‘Liking’ A Drug For Pain Relief vs Recreational Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Thomas Alfieri, PhD
Director, Medical Affairs Strategic Research
Purdue Pharma L.P.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: When researchers assess the abuse potential of opioids, they follow current FDA guidance, which stipulates that questions such as “Do you like this drug?” and “How much would you like to take this drug again?” be asked of recreational drug users. We think that assessing abuse potential among recreational users provides useful information, however, we believe that the questions designed to be asked of recreational users are not appropriate for use with pain patients. These items can confuse the liking of a drug for pain relief with the liking of a drug to get high – two very different reasons that a pain patient might want to take a drug again. In theory, abuse potential could be overestimated among pain patients because of the somewhat general nature of the items used in the survey instrument.

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Excess Health Care Costs of Opioid Abuse Begin Well Before Initial Diagnosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jaren Howard, PharmD, BCPS Associate Director, Medical Affairs Strategic Research Purdue Pharma L.P.

Dr. Jared Howard

Jaren Howard, PharmD, BCPS
Associate Director,
Medical Affairs Strategic Research
Purdue Pharma L.P.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Opioid abuse, dependence, overdose, and poisoning (referred to collectively for the purposes of this study as “abuse”) represent a costly public health concern to payers. Excess annual costs for a diagnosed opioid abuser range from $10,000-$20,000 per patient. Current literature does not sufficiently address the drivers of excess costs in terms of medical conditions driving costs or places of service.

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Changes in Nonmedical Use of OxyContin After Reformulation With Abuse Deterrent Properties

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Angela DeVeaugh-Geiss, PhD
Director, Epidemiology, Purdue Pharma L.P.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Due to widespread abuse, including abuse via non-oral routes (eg, snorting, injecting), OxyContin was reformulated with abuse deterrent properties in August 2010.

In this study we explored changes in nonmedical use of OxyContin after the reformulation using public use data files from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). NSDUH has included questions about nonmedical use of OxyContin (including pill images) since 2004.

Nonmedical use is defined as use without a prescription or use that occurred simply for the experience or feeling the drug caused.

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Medical Marijuana Laws Linked To Lower Opioid-Related Traffic Deaths

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

June H. Kim Doctoral candidate,Department of Epidemiology Mailman School Public Health Columbia University

June Kim

June H. Kim
Doctoral candidate,Department of Epidemiology
Mailman School Public Health
Columbia University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: A previous study indicated that states with medical marijuana laws had a reduced rate of opioid overdoses. If this is true, we’d expect to see similar reductions in opioid use associated with these laws. For this study, we used data from the FARS, a national surveillance system that records any crash events on US public roads that result in a fatality. Some states provide uniform testing of the majority of their deceased drivers, year to year. Among these states, we found that there was a lower prevalence of positive opioid toxicology tests among drivers crashing in states with an operational medical marijuana versus drivers crashing in states before a future medical marijuana law is implemented, particularly among drivers aged 21-40.

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Costs of Prescription Opioid Overdose, Abuse and Dependence Top $75 Billion

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Curtis Florence, PhD National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and Assistant professor, Department of Health Policy Management Rollins School of Public Health at Emory

Curtis Florence, PhD

Curtis Florence, PhD
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and
Assistant professor, Department of Health Policy Management
Rollins School of Public Health
Emory

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response:

  • This study presents most recent CDC estimates of the economic burden of prescription opioid abuse, dependence and overdose in the United States.
  • In 2013, over 16,000 persons died of prescription opioid overdoses, and almost 2 million people met the diagnostic criteria for abuse and/or dependence.

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Repeat Urine Drug Testing Can Improve Compliance of Patients on Opioid Medications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

N. Nick Knezevic, MD, PhD Vice Chair for Research and Education Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Surgery at University of Illinois Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center Department of Anesthesiology Chicago, IL 60657

Dr. N. Nick Knezevic

N. Nick Knezevic, MD, PhD
Vice Chair for Research and Education
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Surgery at University of Illinois
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center
Department of Anesthesiology
Chicago, IL 60657

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Even though serious efforts have been undertaken by different medical societies to reduce opioid use for treating chronic non-cancer pain, still many Americans seek pain relief through opioid consumption. The purpose of this study was to accurately assess compliance of chronic opioid consuming patients in an outpatient setting and evaluate if utilizing repeated urine drug testing could improve compliance.

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Surge in Fentanyl Deaths in Florida and Ohio Linked to Illicitly Manufactured Opioids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexis B. Peterson, PhD

Alexis B. Peterson, PhD

Alexis B. Peterson, PhD
(Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer)

R. Matthew Gladden, PhD Surveillance and Epidemiology Team Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. R. Mathew Gladden

R. Matthew Gladden, PhD (Behavioral Scientist)

MedicalResearch.com What is the background for this study?

Response: In March and October 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued nationwide alerts identifying fentanyl, particularly illicitly manufactured fentanyl, as a threat to public health and safety. During 2013-2014, Ohio and Florida reported significant increases in fentanyl-involved overdose deaths (fentanyl deaths) and fentanyl submissions (drug products obtained by law enforcement that tested positive for fentanyl).

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50-100 times more potent than morphine. The University of Florida and the Ohio Department of Public Health with CDC assistance compared trends in fentanyl deaths, fentanyl submissions, and fentanyl prescribing during January 2013–June 2015.

In-depth review of medical examiner and coroner reports of fentanyl deaths occurring in Ohio’s 14 high-burden counties were performed to identify circumstances surrounding fentanyl overdose death.

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Law Enforcement Agencies Report Large Increases in Synthetic Opioid–Involved Overdose Deaths

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

R. Matthew Gladden, PhD Surveillance and Epidemiology Team Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. R. Mathew Gladden

R. Matthew Gladden, PhD
Surveillance and Epidemiology Team, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In March and October 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and CDC, respectively, issued nationwide alerts identifying illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) as a threat to public health and safety.IMF is unlawfully produced fentanyl, obtained through illicit drug markets, includes fentanyl analogs, and is commonly mixed with or sold as heroin. Starting in 2013, the production and distribution of IMF increased to unprecedented levels, fueled by increases in the global supply, processing, and distribution of fentanyl and fentanyl-precursor chemicals by criminal organizations.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50?100 times more potent than morphine. Multiple states have reported increases in fentanyl-involved overdose (poisoning) deaths (fentanyl deaths). This report examined the number of drug products obtained by law enforcement that tested positive for fentanyl (fentanyl submissions) and synthetic opioid-involved deaths other than methadone (synthetic opioid deaths), which include fentanyl deaths and deaths involving other synthetic opioids (e.g., tramadol).

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Illicitly-Manufactured Fentanyl Contributing To Increasing Numbers of Heroin Deaths

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
John Halpin, MD, MPH, Medical officer
Prescription Drug Overdose Epidemiology and Surveillance Team
CDC Injury Center

MedicalReseach.com editor’s note: Dr. Halpern discusses the CDC alert of August 25, 2016 regarding the increase in fentanyl-related unintentional overdose fatalities in multiple states.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this alert?

Response: The current health alert is an update to a previous alert in October, 2015 from CDC which described the geographic spread of states in which forensic labs were increasingly detecting fentanyl in the drug submissions that they receive from law enforcement, and how many of these same states were beginning to report fentanyl-related overdose deaths by their departments of public health.

Further investigation by CDC and DEA have revealed that the great majority of fentanyl now present in the illicit drugs market is clandestinely-produced, and most commonly mixed with and sold as heroin, and is responsible for the great majority of fentanyl-related overdose deaths. Indications at the time of that alert pointed to a likely continuous rise in the supply of illicitly-manufactured fentanyl, and the potential for increasing numbers of fentanyl-related overdose deaths, particularly among those who use heroin.

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