AHRQ, Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Opiods / 24.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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%. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, CDC, Cocaine / 20.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Pills” by Kurtis Garbutt is licensed under CC BY 2.0Christopher M. Jones, PharmD Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Office of the Secretary U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, resulting in approximately 52,000 deaths in 2015. Although prescription drugs, in particular opioid pain relievers, were primarily responsible for the rapid expansion of this large and growing public health crisis, illicit drugs (heroin, illicit fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamines) now are contributing substantially to the problem. Understanding differences in illicit drug use, illicit drug use disorders, and overall drug overdose deaths in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas is important for informing public health programs, interventions, and policies. We found that the prevalence of self-reported past-month use of illicit drugs increased significantly across urban status (large metropolitan, small metropolitan, and nonmetropolitan) between 2003-2005 and 2012-2014. Prevalence was higher for males than females, however, in the large metropolitan group, the percentage increase in prevalence from 2003–2005 to 2012–2014 was greater for females (23.4%) than for males (21.6%). There were notable differences by age. During 2012–2014, respondents aged 18–25 years had the highest prevalence of past-month use of illicit drugs for all urban levels. For respondents in this age group, the prevalence increased slightly from 2003–2005 to 2012–2014 in large metropolitan areas while the prevalence remained stable among small metropolitan area respondents and nonmetropolitan area respondents. Past-month use of illicit drugs declined over the study period for the youngest respondents (aged 12–17 years), with the largest decline among small metropolitan area youth. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis / 19.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sheryl Cates RTI International Durham, NC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The goal of this research was to provide a better understanding of consumer perceptions of edible marijuana products, including why users prefer edibles relative to other forms of marijuana such as smoking and vaping and concerns regarding the consumption and questions related to, how long do edibles last? And many more! This is important as more states legalize the use of recreational marijuana products. With the increasing popularity of edibles, concerns exist that do not exist with other methods of using marijuana, such as smoking or vaping. These concerns include delayed activation time; accidental ingestion, particularly by children and older adults; and dose titration.

The study team conducted eight focus groups (four groups in Denver, Colorado, and four groups in Seattle, Washington) with users of edibles. Most participants preferred edibles to smoking marijuana because there is no smell from smoke and no secondhand smoke. Other reasons participants like edibles included convenience, discreetness, longer-lasting highs, less intense highs, and edibles’ ability to aid in relaxation, reduce anxiety, and alleviate pain more so than smoking marijuana. Concerns and dislikes about edibles included delayed effects, unexpected highs, the unpredictability of the high, and inconsistency of distribution of marijuana in the product. No participants in either location mentioned harmful health effects from consuming edibles as a concern. Although focus group findings are not generalizable, the findings are useful for helping inform policy makers and regulators as they establish regulations regarding the manufacture, labeling, and sale of edibles.

Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cannabis / 27.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jiries Meehan-Atrash Department of Chemistry, Portland State University Portland, Oregon MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The need for this study stems from the rising popularity of cannabis, and specifically the fact that many consumers are under the belief that vaporizing extracts thereof is safer than smoking. While this may in fact have some truth to it, it is clear that we must assess the safety of vaporization a route of administration. The main findings are that vaporizing terpenes under dabbing conditions generates some levels of methacrolein (a noxious irritant) at all temperatures that are hot enough to vaporize cannabinoids, but significant levels arise at higher temperatures that are more commonly used. To do this, you'll need to make sure your dab rig is in excellent condition. At the highest temperature used by consumers, significant levels of benzene arise, a compound that is a potent carcinogen and should be avoided at all costs. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, Opiods / 19.09.2017

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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis / 13.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin Hansen, Keaton Miller, Caroline Weber Department of Economics University of Oregon MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Recreational marijuana is now, or will soon be, legally available to 21% of the United States population after they follow in Canada's path. All around Canada people can buy marijuana on an online dispensary canada legally with no repercussions but a major concern among policymakers at all levels of government in the US is the trafficking or "diversion" of marijuana from states where it is legal to other states. Though significant measures are in place to prevent large scale drug trafficking by licensed producers, consumers may easily purchase in one state and travel to a different state for consumption or re-sale. Though this policy concern has existed since medical marijuana became available in the 1990s, the extent of this diversion by consumers has been unknown. With recreational marijuana becoming the norm within the states that have made it legal, although policymakers are worried about the potential for trafficking over state lines, it is still legal for those who which to enjoy their cannabis filled vape carts without any repercussions. The cultivation of marijuana is a completely different topic when it comes to the trafficking of marijuana. Although states like Colorado and Oregon have allowed the cultivation of marijuana for both uses, there are states that have legalized cultivation or at least have it for medical use. This has the effect of businesses like LED Grow Lights HQ growing to supply the growing demand. We take advantage of a unique natural experiment in the Pacific Northwest: Oregon opened a recreational market on October 1, 2015, well after Washington's market opened on July 8, 2014. By examining the sales of Washington retailers along the Washington-Oregon border in the months before and after Oregon's market opened, we can measure the extent to which consumers from Oregon crossed state lines to purchase marijuana in Washington. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Kidney Disease, UCSF / 31.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Julie H. Ishida MD Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine San Francisco and San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center University of California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Marijuana is becoming increasingly accepted in the United States, and animal studies suggest that marijuana could affect kidney function. However, data in humans are limited to case reports of acute kidney injury related to synthetic cannabinoid use and small cohort studies of relatively short duration. Among 3,765 participants with normal kidney function in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults or CARDIA study, my colleagues and I found that higher marijuana use was associated with lower kidney function at the start of the our study. However, we did not find that marijuana was associated with change in kidney function or albuminuria, which is a sign of kidney damage, over long-term follow-up. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, University of Pittsburgh / 24.08.2017

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  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. (more…)
Addiction, Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Social Issues / 23.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Beth Han, MD, PhD, MPH From Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, Maryland National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bethesda, Maryland and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Washington, DC.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Using the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), this is the first study examining the prevalence of overall prescription opioid use in addition to misuse, use disorders, and motivations for misuse in the U.S. adult population. The 2015 NSDUH collected nationally representative data on prescription opioid use, misuse, use disorder, and motivations for misuse among the U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized population aged 12 or older. In 2015, NSDUH started to collect data on overall prescription opioid use as well as data on motivations for prescription opioid misuse. This study found that in 2015, 91.8 million (37.8%) U.S. civilian, non-institutionalized adults used prescription opioids, 11.5 million (4.7%) misused them, and 1.9 million (0.8%) had a prescription opioid use disorder. Among adults who used prescription opioids, 12.5% reported misuse and, of those reporting misuse, 16.7% reported a prescription opioid use disorder. The most common reported misuse motivation was to relieve physical pain (63.4%). Misuse and use disorders were most commonly reported in adults who were uninsured, were unemployed, had low income, or had behavioral health problems. Among adults with misuse, 59.9% reported using opioids without a prescription, and 40.8% obtained prescription opioids free from friends or relatives for their most recent misuse. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods, Orthopedics, Pain Research, Stanford / 21.08.2017

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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer, Cancer Research, Opiods / 09.08.2017

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 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.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Opiods, Pediatrics / 04.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Social Issues / 31.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carrie Cuttler, Ph.D. Clinical Assistant Professor Washington State University Department of Psychology Pullman, WA, 99164-4820 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One of the most common reasons cannabis users report using cannabis is to cope with stress. In support of this, previous research has shown that acute administration of THC or cannabis dampens affective responses and subjective stress ratings. This has made strains of cannabis popular for use for stress and other ailments with some online outlets, like high thc having reviews such as the og kush strain review to perpective users. However, our study is the first to compare the stress response of sober cannabis users to non-users. More specifically, we randomly assigned 42 non-cannabis users and 40 cannabis users (who abstained from using cannabis for at least 12 hours prior to the study) to either a stress or no stress condition. Participants in the stress condition were required to perform multiple trials of placing their hand in ice water and counting backwards from 2043 by 17s. Each time they made an error they were given negative feedback and told to start again. Further, they were being video recorded and their image was displayed in front of them. Participants who were assigned to the no stress condition were simply required to perform multiple trials of placing their hand in lukewarm water and counting from 1 to 25. They were not given feedback or recorded. Participants were asked to rate their level of stress and to provide a saliva sample, from which the stress hormone cortisol was measured. The results showed that, as expected, non-users in the stress condition had higher cortisol levels and higher self-reported stress than non-users in the no stress condition. In contrast, cannabis users in the stress condition demonstrated the same levels of cortisol as cannabis users in the no stress condition and their increase in self-reported stress was smaller than that of the non-users. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Mental Health Research, Opiods / 28.07.2017

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. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Opiods / 28.07.2017

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  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. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Pain Research, Primary Care / 17.07.2017

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 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. (more…)
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, NIH / 17.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D. Chief of the Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, a NIAAA intramural laboratory MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Aldosterone is an important hormone involved in the control of blood pressure and electrolytes via its mineralcorticoid receptor (MR). In addition to its roles in the periphery in our body, aldosterone also acts on the brain where the MR is particularly present in regions like the amygdala. The amygdala plays an important role in stress, anxiety and excessive alcohol drinking. Back in 2008, we conducted a small pilot study where we found that alcohol-dependent patients with higher blood aldosterone concentrations have higher alcohol craving. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, CDC, Opiods / 11.07.2017

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  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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods, Pharmacology / 10.07.2017

Medical Research.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Technology / 24.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Phil Reed,  D.Phil. Professor Psychology Swansea University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Problematic internet use has been a growing concern for many people and bodies over the last decade, and more study has been requested into various aspects of this possible disorder.  One of the key questions is whether people overuse the internet, due to an addiction.  If it is an addiction, then there should be signs of withdrawal when people, who report having this problem, stop using the internet.  In this study, 144 participants, aged 18 to 33, had their heart rate and blood pressure measured before and after a brief internet session.  Their anxiety and self-reported internet addiction were also assessed. The results showed increases in heart rate and systolic blood pressure on terminating the internet session for those with problematically-high internet usage.  These increases in physiological arousal were mirrored by increased feelings of anxiety.  However, there were no such changes for those participants who reported no internet-usage problems. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Pediatrics / 19.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods / 19.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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). (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Addiction, Alcohol, Pediatrics / 19.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tammy E. Corr, D.O. Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Division of Newborn Medicine Penn State Hershey College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Recent literature has revealed hospital charges related to neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) have increased. However, there are no data available regarding costs of an NAS admission. Because charges are variable and influenced by a number of factors, provider costs to care for a patient offer more meaningful information. Therefore, we endeavored to determine the incidence of NAS in the United States and estimate the total annual costs and hospital length of stay for an neonatal abstinence syndrome admission as well as the incremental costs and hospital days of admission for an NAS patient compared to a non-NAS admission. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Pediatrics / 14.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Kerr PhD Associate professor in the School of Psychological Science College of Liberal Arts Ohio State University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Oregon legalized sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes and the part of the law (regarding use) took effect in July 2015. However, there have been no controlled studies of which we’re aware of the possible effects of the Oregon law that take into account the trends toward increased marijuana use across the country and differences in use rates between states that predated the law. We used survey data on college students in Oregon and in 6 states without recreational legalization to examine the issue. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Columbia / 13.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Guohua Li DrPH, MD Professor and Director Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention Department of Epidemiology Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Drugged driving has become a serious problem in the United States in the recent years due to increased consumption of marijuana and opioids. About 20% of fatally injured drivers used two or more substances, with alcohol-marijuana being the most commonly detected polydrug combination. Our study of over 14000 fatal 2-car crashes indicates that drivers testing positive for alcohol, marijuana, or both are significantly more likely to be responsible for initiating these crashes than those using neither of the substances. Specifically, compared to drivers not using alcohol and marijuana, the risk of being responsible for initiating fatal crashes increases 62% for those testing positive for marijuana and negative for alcohol, 437% for those testing positive for alcohol and negative for marijuana, and 539% for those testing positive for both alcohol and marijuana. These results suggest that when used in combination, alcohol and marijuana have a positive interaction on the risk of fatal crash initiation. The most common driver error leading to fatal 2-car crashes is failure to keep in proper lane, followed by failure to yield right of way and speeding. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cannabis, Pediatrics / 12.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Michelle Taylor PhD Senior Research Associate in Epidemiology MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU) School of Social and Community Medicine University of Bristol Bristol UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Many previous studies have looked at adolescent cannabis use, however most of these look at use at a single time point, for example whether an individual has ever used cannabis at age 16 years, or how regularly a person uses cannabis at age 18. However, as young people do not initiate use at the same time or follow the same pattern of use, using measures at a single time point does not always tell the whole story. We used a form of statistical modelling using data taken over the course of adolescence to try and characterise underlying patterns of cannabis use across adolescence. We used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children which had information on cannabis use at six time points between the ages of 13 and 18 years. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Opiods, PLoS / 10.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis / 06.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mitchell L. Doucette, MS PhD Candidate The William Haddon Jr Fellowship in Injury Prevention 2017 Co-Fellow Center for Injury Research and Policy Department of Health Management and Policy Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, MD 21205 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Currently in the U.S., 8 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use and an additional 28 states permit marijuana for medical use. Some states have instituted a legal driving limit for marijuana intoxication, 5 ng/mL, and for Colorado specifically, research indicates the average time from law enforcement dispatch to blood sample collection was 2.32 hours—a period of time outside the window of legal sample collection under state law and peak THC detectability. Countries with similar marijuana driving limits perform roadside oral fluid testing for establishing intoxication at point of arrest. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues / 05.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Anya Topiwala, BA (Hons) BMBCh (Oxon) MRCPsych DPhil Clinical lecturer Department of Psychiatry University of Oxford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: I thought the question of whether moderate alcohol consumption is harmful or protective to the brain was a really interesting and important one, particularly because so many people drink this amount. There were a few studies reporting that a little alcohol may protect against dementia or cognitive decline, but the few brain imaging studies were conflicting in their results and had methodological limitations. We examined whether alcohol consumption over a 30-year period was associated with brain imaging and memory decline in a group of 550 non-alcohol dependent individuals from the remarkable Whitehall II cohort. Subjects completed questionnaires and had clinical examinations approximately every 5 years over the 30 years of the study, and had detailed brain scans at the end. (more…)
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 05.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Suniya S. Luthar, Ph.D. Foundation Professor of Psychology Arizona State University Professor Emerita Columbia University's Teachers College President-elect, American Psychological Association's Div.7 (Developmental) MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over the last 20 years, we have found that kids in high achieving schools report higher use of drugs and alcohol than do their counterparts in national normative samples. This particular study was the first in which we followed up samples of high school students through young adulthood, to track levels of substance abuse and addiction. Our findings showed consistently elevated use of various substances across the years. Of greatest concern were diagnoses of dependence (that is, not just abuse of substances but actual addiction to them); among 26 year olds, rates of these diagnoses were two to three times those in national norms. (more…)