Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research / 27.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Calista Harbaugh, MD House Officer, General Surgery Clinician Scholar, National Clinician Scholars Program Research Fellow Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network University of Michigan  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nonmedical prescription opioid use and prescription opioid-related overdose remain significant concerns among adolescents and young adults. Among adolescents and young adults prescribed an opioid after surgery, prior work found that 4.8% of opioid-naïve patients develop new persistent use, filling additional opioid prescriptions at 3-6 months after surgery. This work found associations of persistent use with diagnoses such as chronic pain disorders, depression, anxiety, and prior substance use disorder. It is likely that for young patients, family members may also play an important role in development of new persistent use, but this has not previously been explored. We performed this study to evaluate whether long-term opioid use among family members was associated with prescription opioid fills among adolescents and young adults perioperatively – and we found that opioid-naïve adolescents and young adults who have 1 or more family members with long-term opioid use are more likely to fill at the time of surgery, during recovery, and in the long-term with a near-doubling of rates of new persistent use. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods / 25.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mathew Vinhhoa Kiang, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Primary Care and Outcomes Research Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nationally, opioid-related mortality has continued to climb for decades and resulted in over 42,000 deaths in 2016 — more than the number of deaths from car accidents or firearms. However, there are substantial differences across states and by opioid type. We sought to systematically describe these differences by examining state-level opioid mortality by opioid type. Deaths from synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, are rapidly increasing in the eastern half of the US. Specifically, 28 states have synthetic opioid mortality rates that are more than doubling every two years. Twelve of those states already have high levels of synthetic opioid mortality — above 10 deaths per 100,000. Lastly, the opioid epidemic has reached our nation's capital — Washington DC has the fastest rate of increase, more than tripling every year, and a high opioid mortality rate. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods / 24.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian J. Piper, PhD, MS Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Fentanyl is an important opioid for pain management but also has exceptional potential for misuse. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl accounts for a large portion of opioid overdoses. Seven states including Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont have recently implemented opioid prescribing laws. The objectives of this study were to:
  • 1) characterize how medical use of fentanyl, fentanyl analogues like sufentanil, alfentanil, and remifentanil, and other opioid use changed over the past decade, and
  • 2) determine whether opioid prescribing laws impacted fentanyl use in the US. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Ordering System (ARCOS) is the gold-standard for pharmacoepidemiology research of controlled substances in the US for its comprehensiveness. 
(more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis / 22.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lonnie M. Schaible PhD Associate Professor School of Public Affairs University of Colorado Denver, CO MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Following legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado, strong -- but unsubstantiated -- claims were being made about crime surrounding marijuana dispensaries.  We wanted to know what the data would show.  We were especially interested in determining whether the addition of recreational facilities had any effects above and beyond those which might exist for medical dispensaries.  To better capture the dynamic landscape of marijuana legalization, this is the first study to control for the prior existence of medical dispensaries and assess how effects of both of these types of establishments changed over time. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, Opiods / 12.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gery Guy, PhD, MPH Injury Center CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study examined opioid prescribing at the national and county-level in 2015 and 2017. During 2015 to 2017, the amount of opioids prescribed decreased 20.1% in the United States. The amount of opioids prescribed per person varies substantially at the county-level. The average amount of opioids prescribed in the highest quartile of counties was nearly 6 times the amount in the lowest quartile. Reductions in opioid prescribing could be related to policies and strategies aimed at reducing inappropriate prescribing, increased awareness of the risks associated with opioids, and release of the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods, Social Issues / 06.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lawrence M. Kessler, PhD Research Assistant Professor Matthew C. Harris, PhD Assistant Professor Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research and Department of Economics The University of Tennessee     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Motivation for this study came from Co-Author, Matt Murray, who was at a speaking engagement and heard a community business leader say “we’ve got jobs, but no one is applying, could opioids be a contributing factor?” This led to a conversation back at the Boyd Center between us and Matt Murray, where we decided that if we could get data on prescription rates, we could answer this question empirically. We started by contacting each state agency in charge of their respective prescription drug monitoring program to see if they’d be willing to share county-level data on prescription opioid rates. From this letter-writing campaign we received data from 10 states, which formed the basis for our analysis. As time went on, new data was made publicly available and we were able to expand the analysis to all 50 states. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods / 02.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Opioids" by KSRE Photo is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0Dr. Qiushi Chen (first author) and Jagpreet Chhatwal PhD Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Senior Scientist, Institute for Technology Assessment Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Opioid overdose epidemic is a national public health emergency — in 2017, more than 49,000 people died from overdose. Our study shows that under current conditions, the number of deaths is projected to increase to 81,700 by 2025. Efforts to curb the epidemic by reducing the incidence of prescription opioid misuse — the primary focus of current interventions — will have a modest effect of 3-5% reduction in overdose deaths. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 21.01.2019

gambling addictionAn addiction to gambling can be an isolating ordeal that causes havoc among someone’s personal relationships, destroys personal finances, and exacerbates any mental health issues that a person may have. Addiction is rarely an isolated incident. Typically there are many factors at play that can manifest themselves in the form of gambling. By tackling these underlying causes one can treat their addiction and eliminate the toxic habits that created it. In addition to confronting this by oneself, it is important for those who suffer from this to confide in those close to them as well as seeking advice from their doctor. One major issue brought on by any kind of addiction is the sense of alienation that someone can experience. This is where it is important for them to open up to those who are close to them, like a loved one or a close friend. It will help alleviate the burden of struggling alone and will help others to understand what they are going through. Getting in touch with self-help groups can be another means of alleviating the feelings of alienation that addicts can experience while they are treating their compulsive gambling. This provides an outlet for an addict to express what they are going through while simultaneously getting the perspective of others who have struggled in a similar fashion. One of the most important steps to take is the very first one. That is to be able to admit that there is a problem with gambling. Once this has been done, the problem becomes tangible and the addiction can be confronted directly. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, University of Michigan / 17.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel J. Kruger, PhD Research Assistant Professor University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We study health-related behaviors, such as diet and the consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Given the recent trends in legalization of cannabis for medical and even recreational purposes, we were concerned with the narrow focus of current public health efforts regarding cannabis. Although some in the field take a harm-reduction approach to substance use, too many efforts focus solely on abstinence. These programs are a legacy from the era of prohibition, and we know that there are disadvantages to such a restricted scope in public health. For example, municipalities that eliminated or blocked accurate and effective sex education had increases in teenage pregnancy rates. There are so many public health-related aspects of cannabis, beyond risks and adverse effects, which need to be addressed by systematic scientific research. Because of the legal history of cannabis, there is little integration with the mainstream health care system. The focus of the current study was investigating how medical cannabis users perceived medical cannabis in comparison to pharmaceutical drugs and other aspects of the mainstream health care system and how they navigated they relationships between these currently separate systems (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, UCLA / 15.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John W. Ayers, PhD MA Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national helpline (1-800-662-HELP) is the only free, federally managed and endorsed US drug treatment referral service, helping callers find the best local services that match their needs. Are millions suffering simply because they are not aware that lifesaving help is a phone call away? In our new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Mark Dredze, Alicia Nobles and I delved into Americans’ engagement with 1-800-662-HELP following singer Demi Lovato’s July 24, 2018 hospitalization for a reported overdose that on-the-scene investigators originally linked to heroin. Lovato has since recovered. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA / 09.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ingunn Olea Lund, PhD The Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo, Norway MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There are significant amounts of research on children of parents with alcohol use disorders – where the children are shown to be at risk of several adverse outcomes, including mental disorders, substance use disorders, suicide, impaired school performance, and employment problems. There is very little previous research on how other, more normal levels of parental drinking may influence child outcomes, such as mental health. This is a grave oversight, as there are vastly more parents with normal drinking patterns than there are parents who suffer from an alcohol use disorder. This means that there are potentially a lot more cases of adverse effect for children, and the number of children at risk may be higher than previously assumed. In addition to parents' alcohol use, several other risk factors in the family that may affect child mental health outcomes, such as parents' mental health and socio-economic status. Researchers have tended to look at these risk factors separately, but as these risks tend to co-occur, it may be more informative to consider them together. To our knowledge, this is the first study that examines possible harm from normal levels of parental drinking, alone or in combination with other parental risk factors, on children’s anxiety and depression. The sample consists of more than 8700 triads: children and both their parents. We combined information from three health registries with survey data where both adolescents and their parents provided information about health and social conditions. The health registers include information about the children 's actual contact with the health care system; we used information about whether children received diagnoses and/or treatment for anxiety and/or depression. (more…)
Author Interviews, Methamphetamine / 06.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian J. Piper, PhD, MS Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Department of Basic Sciences, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Scranton PA 18509  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The U.S. accounts for five percent of the world population but more than 92 percent of the world’s spending on pharmacotherapies for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). According to the 2011 National Survey of Children’s Health, ADHD increased to 11.0 percent of U.S. children, seven percent of girls and 15 percent of boys. Interestingly, ADHD rates were much lower among Hispanic children. The 2013 revision to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders broadened the criteria such that it became easier to diagnose adult ADHD. Together, we hypothesized that use of amphetamine (Adderall), methylphenidate (Ritalin), and lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) would be increasing. We also predicted that there would be some regional differences in stimulant use. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cocaine, Opiods, Primary Care / 03.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah M. Bagley MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics Director, CATALYST Clinic Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center Boston, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Urine drug testing is a routine part of the management of primary care patients with opioid use disorder treated with medications such as buprenorphine. In addition, most providers also ask patients about recent drug use. The point of this study was to see the agreement between the urine drug testing and what patients told a nurse and whether that changed the longer a patient was in treatment. We found that truthful disclosure of opioid and cocaine use increased with time in treatment and that urine drug tests are a useful tool to monitor patients.  (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA / 29.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David L. Brown, MD, FACC Professor of Medicine Cardiovascular Division Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, MO 63110 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The genesis of this study was a patient asking me if he could continue to have a nightly cocktail or two after he was hospitalized with the new diagnosis of heart failure. The main findings are that moderate drinking after the diagnosis of heart failure in older adults is probably safe and is associated with longer survival. These types of studies can not prove a causal relationship between alcohol consumption and survival.  (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Smoking / 28.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sarah Dermody, PhD Assistant Professor School of Psychological Science Oregon State University Corvallis Oregon  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Drinking alcohol is a risk factor for sustained smoking. In a sample of daily cigarette smokers receiving treatment for alcohol use disorder, we examined if reductions in drinking corresponded with reductions in nicotine metabolism as indexed by the nicotine metabolite ratio. The nicotine metabolite ratio is important because it is associated with smoking level and lapses. We found that for men, alcohol use and the nicotine metabolite ratio reduced significantly; however, for women, neither drinking nor nicotine metabolite ratio changed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cannabis, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 19.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sharon Levy, MD, MPH Director, Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program Boston Children's Hospital Associate Professor of Pediatrics Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: ​For this study we analyzed data that were collected as part of a larger survey study that recruited a sample of adolescents who were coming to the doctor's office for routine medical care.  We asked them a lot of questions about their health, school, extracurricular activities, plans for the future, substance use patterns and problems associated with use among other things. The main finding was that among the participants who reported marijuana use in the past year, many of them, more than 40%, said that they had experienced either an hallucination, or paranoia/anxiety related to their use. Kids who used more frequently and those who met criteria for a substance use disorder were more likely to experience these symptoms, as were those who had symptoms of depression (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews / 16.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Schott Zwiesel Wine Glasses" by Didriks is licensed under CC BY 2.0 <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0"> CC BY 2.0</a>Simona Costanzo MS, PhD Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention. IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We investigated how the different intake of alcohol relates to all-cause and cause-specific hospitalizations. In particular, we mainly investigated the association of alcohol consumption with total number of hospitalizations that occurred during 6 years of follow-up. We also examined cause-specific hospitalizations (e.g., alcohol-related diseases, vascular diseases, cancer, traumatic injury, and neurodegenerative diseases). (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Infections, Opiods / 04.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Asher Schranz, MD Division of Infectious Disease Department of Medicine UNC School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The opioid crisis has led to several major infectious diseases concerns, including HIV and Hepatitis C. Drug use-associated infective endocarditis (DUA-IE) is a less commonly discussed consequence of the opioid epidemic. DUA-IE is an infection of one or more heart valves that occurs from injecting drugs. It can be a severe, life-threatening infection and requires a long course of intravenous antibiotics as well as, in some cases, open heart surgery to replace an infected heart valve. Several studies over the past few years have shown that DUA-IE has been increasing. Our study examined hospital discharges in North Carolina statewide from 2007 to 2017. We sought to update trends in DUA-IE and describe how much heart valve surgery was being performed for DUA-IE. We also aimed to report the demographics of persons who are undergoing heart valve surgery for DUA-IE and the charges, lengths of stay and outcomes of these hospitalizations.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Dental Research, JAMA, Opiods, Pediatrics / 03.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alan Schroeder MD Associate Chief for Research Division of pediatric hospital medicine Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Third molar “wisdom teeth” extractions are one of the most common surgeries performed in adolescents and young adults, but an adequate appraisal of risks and benefits is lacking. Most patients who undergo this procedure are exposed to opioids post-operatively. We demonstrate that, for privately-insured opioid-naïve patients 16-25 years of age, exposure to opioids from a dental provider is associated with persistent use at 90-365 days in 7% of patients and a subsequent diagnosis relating to abuse in 6% of patients. In contrast persistent use and abuse were significantly lower in control patients not exposed to dental opioids (0.1% and 0.4%, respectively). The median number of pills dispensed for the initial prescriptions was 20. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, University of Pennsylvania / 02.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel Romer PhD Annenberg Public Policy Center The University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous research has found some troubling relations between adolescent cannabis use and subsequent increases in conduct problems and other unhealthy consequences.  These studies were done in New Zealand in the late 90’s and we wanted to re-examine those relationships using more contemporary data in the US. We had data on 364 adolescents who were followed from age 13 to 19 in Philadelphia that could provide a more up to date picture of the effects of using cannabis on one important outcome, conduct disorder.  We also wanted to use more sensitive methods than had been used in prior research that would enable us to examine reciprocal relations between cannabis use and c (CP).  That is, it might be the case that youth with CP are prone to using cannabis and that this helps to explain why there appears to be a relation over time between cannabis use and CP rather than cannabis use leading to CP. Our findings supported that hypothesis.  There was no prospective relation between changes in cannabis use and subsequent changes in conduct problems.  Instead, changes in conduct problems were found to predict changes in use of cannabis.  Youth with conduct problems also affiliated more with peers who used cannabis, adding further to their own use.  There was also no evidence that youth who used cannabis sought out peers who used it apart from the effects of CP. Finally, both use of cannabis and  conduct problems predicted subsequent development of a mild cannabis use disorder (CUD).  (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Methamphetamine, OBGYNE, Opiods / 02.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lindsay Admon, MD MSc Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? In our previous work (https://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2017/12000/Disparities_in_Chronic_Conditions_Among_Women.19.aspx), we identified higher rates of deliveries complicated by substance use among rural women. We knew that some of this difference would be accounted for by opioids.What we didn’t expect was that when we took a closer look, amphetamine use disorder accounted for a significant portion of this disparity as well. The main findings of this study are that, between 2008-09 and 2014-15, amphetamine and opioid use among delivering women increased disproportionately across rural compared to urban counties in three of four census regions. By 2014-15, amphetamine use disorder was identified among approximately 1% of all deliveries in the rural western United States, which was higher than the incidence of opioid use in most regions. Compared to opioid-related deliveries, amphetamine-related deliveries were associated with higher incidence of the majority of adverse gestational outcomes that we examined including pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery, and severe maternal morbidity and mortality.   (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, Primary Care, USPSTF / 20.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Carol Mangione M.D., M.S.P.H., F.A.C.P Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Division Chief of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research Professor of Medicine. Barbara A. Levey, MD, and Gerald S. Levey, MD Endowed chair in medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Unhealthy alcohol use is relatively common and is increasing among U.S. adults. Alcohol use is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and contributes to more than 88,000 deaths per year. In pregnancy, it also leads to birth defects and developmental problems in children. The Task Force found that screening tests and brief counseling interventions can help detect and reduce unhealthy alcohol use among adults, and in turn help prevent negative consequences related to alcohol use. For adolescents ages 12 to 17, clinicians should use their best judgment when deciding whether or not to screen and refer their patients to counseling, until we have better studies available. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Opiods / 15.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kirk Evoy, PharmD, BCACP, BC-ADM, CTTS "Wolf Administration Holds a Press Conference Expanding Access to Naloxone" by Governor Tom Wolf is licensed under CC BY 2.0Clinical Assistant Professor  College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin Adjoint Assistant Professor  School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Ambulatory Care Pharmacist  Southeast Clinic, University Health System  UT Health Science Center at San Antonio Pharmacotherapy Education and Research Center San Antonio, TX 78229  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Previous studies in Indiana and New York City, and the similar study in California published alongside ours identified that, despite the fact that laws designed to increase naloxone access had been in place for 2-3 years, patients were still not able to obtain naloxone without first seeing a doctor in many pharmacies. Our study showed contrasting results to the previous studies, with a much higher proportion of pharmacies stocking naloxone and stating their willingness to dispense without an outside prescription. Among the 2,317 Texas chain community pharmacies we contacted, 83.7% correctly informed our interviewers that they could obtain naloxone without having to get a prescription from their doctor before coming to the pharmacy.  We also found that 76.4% of the pharmacies had at least one type of naloxone currently in stock. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Pharmacology / 14.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Talia Puzantian,  PharmD, BCPP Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Keck Graduate Institute   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Naloxone has been used in hospitals and emergency rooms since the early 1970s. Distribution to laypersons began in the mid-1990s with harm reduction programs such as clean needle exchange programs providing it, along with education, to mostly heroin users. In the years between 1996-2014, 152,000 naloxone kits were distributed in this way with more than 26,000 overdoses reversed (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6423a2.htm). We have data showing that counties in which there was greater naloxone distribution among laypeople, there were lower opioid death rates (Walley AY et al BMJ 2013). However, not all opioid users at risk for overdose will interface with harm reduction programs, particularly prescription opioid users, hence more recent efforts to increase access to laypersons through pharmacists. Naloxone access laws have been enacted in all 50 states but very little has been published about how they’ve been adopted by pharmacists thus far. One small study (264 pharmacies) from Indiana (Meyerson BE et al Drug Alcohol Depend 2018) showed that 58.1% of pharmacies stocked naloxone, only 23.6% provided it without prescription, and that large chain pharmacies were more likely to do so. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Opiods / 14.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Drug Addiction" by Joana Faria is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0Yingxi (Cimo) Chen, MD, MPH, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Radiation Epidemiology Branch, DCEG, NCI, NIH Rockville MD 20850  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Death rates from drug overdose have more than doubled in the US in the 21st century. Similar increases in drug overdose deaths have been reported in other high-income countries but few studies have compared rates across countries.  (more…)