Criminal Justice System Involvement High Among Those With Opioid Use Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tyler Winkelman MD, MSc   Clinician-Investigator Division of General Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare Center for Patient and Provider Experience, Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute Assistant Professor Departments of Medicine & Pediatrics University of Minnesota

Dr. Winkelman

Tyler Winkelman MD, MSc 
Clinician-Investigator
Division of General Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare
Center for Patient and Provider Experience, Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute
Assistant Professor
Departments of Medicine & Pediatrics
University of Minnesota

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

Response: Opioid overdose deaths continue to escalate, and there have been reports that jails and prisons are bearing the brunt of the opioid epidemic. However, it wasn’t known, nationally, how many people who use opioids were involved in the criminal justice system. We also didn’t have recent estimates of common physical and mental health conditions among people with different levels of opioid use.

We used two years of national survey data to understand these associations, which are critical in developing a public health response to the opioid epidemic.

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Surgery For Spondylolisthesis (Spinal Stress Fractures) Reduced Chances of Opioid Dependence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Beatrice Ugiliweneza, PhD, MSPH Assistant Professor Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine Department of Health Management and Systems Science School of Public Health and Information Sciences University of Louisville

Dr. Ugiliweneza

Beatrice Ugiliweneza, PhD, MSPH
Assistant Professor
Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center
Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine
Department of Health Management and Systems Science
School of Public Health and Information Sciences
University of Louisville

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

Response: This study stems from the observed opioid crisis in the United States in recent years. Opioids are used in the management of pain. In the spine population, back pain is one of the main conditions for which opioids are consumed.

A frequent cause of that pain is degenerative spondylolisthesis. We aimed to evaluate the effect of surgery, which has been shown to improve outcomes, on opioid dependence. We found that surgery is associated with reduced odds of opioid dependence.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: One interesting finding that we observed is that patients are twice less likely to become opioid dependent than they are to become dependent after surgery. However, an important note to keep in mind is that about 10% of patients will be opioid dependent after surgery (about 6% prior non-dependent and 4% prior dependent).  

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Surgery has been proven to improve clinical outcomes and quality of life for patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis. Future research should explore why some patients remain or become opioid dependent after surgery.

It would also be interesting to look at the effect of other treatments for degenerative spondylolisthesis (such as epidural steroid injections for example) on opioid dependence.

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

Response: Spine surgeons should have systems that help them recognize patients who are likely to become opioid dependent after surgery. Our paper discusses factors to watch for such as younger age, prior dependence, etc… This would help provide targeted attention and hopefully combat the ramping opioid crisis.

The authors have no disclosures. 

Citation:

Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Posted online on June 19, 2018.
Factors predicting opioid dependence in patients undergoing surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis: analysis from the MarketScan databases
Mayur Sharma, MD, MCh, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, PhD, MSPH1, Zaid Aljuboori, MD1, Miriam A.Nuño, PhD2, Doniel Drazin, MD3, and  Maxwell Boakye, MD, MPH, MBA1

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Potentially 70,000 Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths Undercounted

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeanine M. Buchanich, Ph.D. Research associate  Professor in the University of Pittsburgh Graduate  School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics

Dr. Buchanich

Jeanine M. Buchanich, Ph.D.
Research associate
Professor in the University of Pittsburgh Graduate
School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics

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

Response: In the U.S., cause of death codes are assigned by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) using information reported by the coroner or medical examiner completing the death certificate. Drug-specific overdose deaths are identified by the contributory causes of death, which are categorized as “T codes” and are assigned based on the specific drugs recorded by the coroner or medical examiner completing the death certificate. A code of T50.9 means “other and unspecified drugs, medicaments and biological substances.”

My colleagues and I extracted death data by state for 1999 through 2015 from the NCHS’s Mortality Multiple Cause Micro-data Files. We grouped overdose deaths into opioid-related, non-opioid-related and unspecified codes. In five states – Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi and Pennsylvania – more than 35 percent of the overdose deaths were coded as unspecified.

We then calculated the change in percentage of overdose deaths that fell into each category from 1999 to 2015 by state. In those 17 years, opioid-related overdose deaths rose 401 percent, non-opioid-related overdose deaths rose 150 percent and unspecified overdose deaths rose 220 percent.

This allowed us to extrapolate how many of the unspecified overdose deaths were likely opioid-related. By our calculations, potentially 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths were not included in national opioid-related mortality estimates since 1999 because coroners and medical examiners did not specify the drug that contributed to the cause of death when completing the death certificates.  Continue reading

Buprenorphine Exposures Among Children and Adolescents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gary Smith, MD, DrPH Director, Center for Injury Research and Policy Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus, OH

Dr. Smith

Gary A. Smith, MD, DrPH
Director, Center for Injury Research and Policy
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Columbus, OH

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

Response: Buprenorphine is a prescription opioid medication commonly used to treat opioid use disorder. From 2005 to 2010, the annual number of individual patients who received a buprenorphine prescription increased from 100,000 to more than 800,000. Although buprenorphine is important for the treatment of opioid use disorder, pediatric exposure to this medication can result in serious adverse outcomes.

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More Medicaid Enrollees Receiving Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder, But Disparities Remain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bradley D. Stein MD PhD Senior Physician Policy Researcher Pittsburgh Office Rand Corporation

Dr. Stein

Bradley D. Stein MD PhD
Senior Physician Policy Researcher
Pittsburgh Office
Rand Corporation

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

Response: Increasing use of medication treatment for individuals with opioid use disorders, with medications like methadone and buprenorphine, is a critical piece of the nation’s response to the opioid crisis. Buprenorphine was approved by the FDA in 2002 for treatment of opioid use disorders, but there was little information about to what extent buprenrophine’s approval increased the number of Medicaid-enrollees who received medication treatment in the years following FDA approval nor to what extent receipt of such treatment was equitable across communities.

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Concurrent Opioids and Benzodiazepines Raise Risk of Overdose, esp. Early On

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Inmaculada Hernandez, PharmD, PhD Assistant Professor of Pharmacy and Therapeutics University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Dr. Hernandez

Inmaculada Hernandez, PharmD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy and Therapeutics
University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

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

Response: Prior research has found that taking opioids and benzodiazepines simultaneously increases the risk of overdose by 2 to 3 fold, when compared to opioid-use only.

However, prior to our study, it was unclear how the risk of overdose changes over time with the concurrent use of opioids and benzodiazepines.

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Most Patients Who Survive Overdose Do Not Receive FDA Approved Medications for Opioid Use Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marc R. Larochelle, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine Boston University School of Medicine Boston MA

Dr. Larochelle


Marc R. Larochelle, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston MD 

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

Response: In this study we examined more than 17,000 individuals who survived an opioid overdose in Massachusetts between 2012 and 2014.

We were interested in identifying how many went on to receive one of the three FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), and whether or not they were associated with mortality.

We found that only 3 in 10 received MOUD and that receipt of buprenorphine and methadone were associated with 40-60% reduction in all-cause and opioid-related mortality.

We found no association between naltrexone and mortality though the confidence of this conclusion is limited by the small number who received naltrexone in this cohort.

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Treatment Initiation for Opioid Use Disorder in Emergency Departments

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Herbie Duber, MD, MPH, FACEP Associate Professor, Emergency Medicine Adjunct Associate Professor Department of Global Health Adjunct Associate Professor, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation University of Washington

Dr. Duber

Herbie Duber, MD, MPH, FACEP
Associate Professor, Emergency Medicine
Adjunct Associate Professor Department of Global Health
Adjunct Associate Professor
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
University of Washington

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

Response: Opioid use disorder (OUD) and opioid overdose deaths are a rapidly increasing public health crisis.  In this paper, we review and synthesize current evidence on the identification, management and transition of patients from the emergency department (ED) to the outpatient setting and present several key recommendations.

For patients identified to haveOpioid use disorder, we recommend ED-initiated mediation-assisted therapy (MAT) with buprenorphine, an opioid agonist.  Current evidence suggests that it safe and effective, leading to improved patient outcomes.  At the same time, a coordinated care plan should be put into motion which combines MAT with a rapid transition to outpatient care, preferably within 72 hours of ED evaluation.  Where possible, a warm handoff is preferred, as it has been shown in other settings to improve follow-up.  Outpatient care should combine MAT, psychological interventions and social support/case management in order to maximize impact Continue reading

Opioid Use Increases Alcohol Relapse Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Katie Witkiewitz PhD Professor, Department of Psychology  University of New Mexico

Dr. Witkiewitz

Dr. Katie Witkiewitz PhD
Professor, Department of Psychology
University of New Mexico

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: The main findings from our study indicate that individuals with alcohol dependence who misused opioids (e.g., used without a prescription or not as prescribed) had a significantly higher likelihood of relapse to heavy drinking during alcohol treatment and were drinking more alcohol during and following alcohol treatment. Continue reading

Cigna Creates Online Initiative To Drive Patient-Provider Conversations Regarding Pain and Opioid Prescriptions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Stuart Lustig, M.D., M.P.H National Medical Executive for Behavioral Health Cigna

Dr. Lustig

Dr. Stuart Lustig, M.D., M.P.H
National Medical Executive for Behavioral Health
Cigna

Dr. Lustig discusses Cigna’s efforts to curb the opioid epidemic.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the Applying American Society of Addiction Medicine Performance Measures in Commercial Health Insurance and Services Data study?

Response: In 2016 Cigna announced a collaboration with the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) to improve treatment for people suffering from substance use disorders and establish performance measures and best practices for addiction treatment. Mining anonymized data from Cigna’s administrative data, Brandeis University researchers have validated a new way to hone in on trouble spots where substance use disorder treatment for opioid, alcohol and other drug dependence is suboptimal, like the way police departments use computers to identify high crime areas in need of greater scrutiny and attention.

The technique uses ASAM-defined performance measures to assess substance use disorder treatment patterns, giving researchers the ability to sort through administrative data and measure to the extent to which patients being treated for opioid or alcohol use disorder are receiving and using evidenced-based medications proven to be effective in improving outcomes and retention in treatment. It also measures whether those patients received support during substance withdrawal – a critical factor in the success of addiction treatment plans. The performance measures were first tested on the Veterans’ Health Administration in 2016 and now, on data from Cigna.

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Reducing Opioids Near End of Hospital Stay May Limit Outpatient Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jason Kennedy, MS Research project manager Department of Critical Care Medicine University of Pittsburgh

Jason Kennedy

Jason Kennedy, MS
Research project manager
Department of Critical Care Medicine
University of Pittsburgh

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

Response: Most previous studies of opioid use in health care have focused on the outpatient setting. But opioids are often introduced during hospitalization. That’s something clinicians can control, so we looked at inpatient prescription of these drugs to identify targets that may reduce opioid use once patients are out of the hospital.

We analyzed the medical records of 357,413 non-obstetrical adults hospitalized between 2010 and 2014 at 12 University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) hospitals in southwestern Pennsylvania. The region is one of the areas of the country where opioid addiction is a major public health problem. We focused on the 192,240 patients who had not received an opioid in the year prior to their hospitalization – otherwise known as “opioid naïve” patients.

Nearly half (48 percent) of these patients received an opioid while hospitalized.  After discharge, those patients receiving hospital opioids were more than twice as likely to report outpatient opioid use within 90-days (8.4 percent vs. 4.1 percent). Patients who receive an opioid for most of their hospital stay and patients who are still taking an opioid within 12 hours of being discharged from the hospital appear more likely to fill a prescription for opioids within 90 days of leaving the hospital.  Continue reading

More Opioids Prescribed By Doctors Who Received Free Pharmaceutical Lunches

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Big Lunch Extras Reading” by Big Lunch Extras is licensed under CC BY 2.0Scott E. Hadland, MD, MPH, MS
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics | Boston University School of Medicine
Boston Medical Center
Director of Urban Health & Advocacy Track | Boston Combined Residency Program
Boston, MA 02118

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

Response: Numerous pharmaceutical companies have received media attention for their role in promoting opioid prescribing through speaker programs and other marketing plans in which large-value payments are given to a small number of doctors to promote opioids.

In our study, we sought to tell the other side of the story. We wanted to identify whether low-value marketing, including industry-sponsored meals, which are commonplace in the US, were associated with increased opioid prescribing.

We found that 1 in 14 doctors received opioid marketing from pharmaceutical companies in 2014, and those that received marketing prescribed 9% more opioids the following year. With each additional meal a doctor received, he or she prescribed more and more opioids the following year. Our sample included 43% of the active physician workforce in the US, suggesting how widespread and far-reaching this effect might be.

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Do Blacks Still Get More Opioid Prescriptions?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matthew A. Davis, MPH, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Systems, Populations and Leadership University of Michigan

Dr. Davis

Matthew A. Davis, MPH, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Systems, Populations and Leadership
University of Michigan

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

Response: The premise for the study was based on prior work that demonstrated that the likelihood of being prescribed an opioid differs according to a patient’s race and ethnicity.  Collectively this work has shown that Non-Hispanic Whites are more likely to receive opioids than other groups for pain.

We decided to look at trends in the prescribing of different pain medications over the last 16 years to see if we could detect any differences in prescribing patterns among racial and ethnic groups.  To do so we used national health data for a large sample of Americans who live with significant pain.

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Are Opioids Effective for Dental Pain?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Dental Exam” by 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support) is licensed under CC BY 2.0Paul A. Moore, DMD, PhD, MPH

School of Dental Medicine
University of Pittsburgh 

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

Response: Effective pain management is a priority in dental practice. Government and private agencies highlight the need to provide optimal pain relief, balancing potential benefits and harms of both opioid and nonopioid analgesic agents. The purpose of our study is to summarize the available evidence on the benefits and harms of analgesic agents, focusing on preexisting systematic reviews.

We found combinations of ibuprofen and acetaminophen as having the highest association with treatment benefit in adult patients and the highest proportion of adult patients who experienced maximum pain relief. Diflunisal, acetaminophen, and oxycodone were found to have the longest duration of action in adult patients. Medication and medication combinations that included opioids were among those associated most frequently with acute adverse events in both child and adult-aged patient populations.

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Can Opioid Users Be Transitioned To Extended-Release Naltrexone?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Maria Sullivan MD PhD Senior Medical Director of Clinical Research and Development Alkermes

Dr. Sullivan

Maria Sullivan, M.D., Ph.D
Senior Medical Director of Clinical Research and Development
Alkermes

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

Response: Extended release injectable naltrexone is approved for the prevention of relapse to opioid dependence after detoxification and when used with counseling. It is recommended that patients abstain from opioids for a minimum of seven to 10 days prior to induction onto XR-naltrexone to avoid precipitating opioid withdrawal. This requirement of detoxification represents a substantial clinical challenge, particularly in the outpatient setting.

There is currently no single recognized best method for opioid detoxification prior to first dose of extended-release naltrexone (XR-naltrexone). A number of induction regimens have been explored, including the use of low doses of oral naltrexone to shorten the transition period from dependence on opioids to XR-naltrexone treatment. The goal of the study was to help establish an outpatient regimen to transition subjects from physiological opioid dependence to XR-naltrexone treatment and mitigate the severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms.

We hypothesized that low-dose oral naltrexone, combined with buprenorphine and psychoeducational counseling, would assist with the transition of patients with opioid use disorder onto XR-naltrexone. In this 3-arm trial, we examined the utility of oral naltrexone, buprenorphine, and a fixed regimen of ancillary medications (oral naltrexone + buprenorphine vs. oral naltrexone + placebo buprenorphine vs. placebo +placebo), to determine whether any of these regimens was associated with higher rates of induction onto XR-naltrexone.

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Double-Edge Sword of Drug Epidemic

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christine Marie Durand, M.D
.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Johns Hopkins Medicine 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study

Response: Most Americans know that the United States faces an epidemic of deaths due to drug overdose.  And many are also aware that there is a critical shortage of organs available for transplant.  Perhaps less widely known is that today, more than 1 in every 8 deceased organ donors died from a drug overdose.  The objective of our study was to look at the outcomes of patients who received transplants with organs donated after an overdose.

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More Than Half of Surveyed Chronic Pain Patients Report Opioid-Induced Constipation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Joseph Pergolizzi MD Senior Partner and Director of Research Naples Anesthesia and Pain Associates Naples, Florida Adjunct Assistant Professor Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, Maryland

Dr. Pergolizzi

Dr. Joseph Pergolizzi MD
Senior Partner and Director of Research
Naples Anesthesia and Pain Associates
Naples, Florida

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

Response: There are roughly 100 million Americans living with chronic pain and many battle debilitating side effects because of their pain medication, including Painstipation otherwise known as opioid-induced constipation (OIC.) In fact, OIC is the most common side effect with approximately 40-80 percent of patients on chronic opioid therapy experiencing it.

To better understand this community, the Painstipation survey, conducted by Salix Pharmaceuticals in partnership with the U.S. Pain Foundation, surveyed 441 U.S. adults with chronic pain who were on opioid therapy and suffering from OIC. It gave great insight into this community as it found:

  • More than half (51 percent) of chronic pain patients have been suffering from opioid-induced constipation  for three years or longer
  • Most patients (73 percent) agree that one of the biggest challenges of having OIC is that medications don’t work quickly enough to relieve pain associated with OIC.
  • 53 percent of patients say they want relief for OIC in under four hours
  • Only half of patients surveyed (73 percent) surveyed said they were informed by their doctors that taking opioid medications might result in constipation before they began taking them
  • 77 percent of respondents reported suffering from OIC for at least one year
  • When asked, roughly one-third (32 percent) of patients reported that their doctor does not talk to them specifically about potential adverse drug-to-drug interactions (DDI) of their current prescription and/or over-the-counter medications.

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Most Opioid Overdose Patients Can Be Discharged After Brief ER Visit

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Frank Scheuermeyer MD MHSc Clinical Associate Professor Department of Emergency Medicine St Paul’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia

Dr. Scheuermeyer

Frank Scheuermeyer MD MHSc
Clinical Associate Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine
St Paul’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia 

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

Response: Mortality from the opioid epidemic is dramatically increasing and a main culprit appears to be illicit fentanyl. Current research states that patients with presumed fentanyl overdoses are at high risk of deterioration and death, and require prolonged emergency department stays or hospital admission to ensure a safe outcome.

Our inner-city hospital adopted a protocol initially developed for patients with heroin overdose, modified it to account for the greater potency of fentanyl, and studied 1009 consecutive patients who arrived with an overdose.

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LUCEMYRA, First Drug for Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms, Receives FDA Recommendation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
http://usworldmeds.com/
Mark Pirner, MD, PhD
Senior Medical Director
US WorldMeds  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain how lofexidine works?

Response: LUCEMYRA (lofexidine) was studied in two phase 3 pivotal randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies, and a phase 3 open-label study. Clinical pharmacology studies included evaluation of drug-drug interaction studies that demonstrated lofexidine can be safely administered concomitantly with methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone.

LUCEMYRA is an alpha 2 adrenergic receptor agonist that reduces the surge of norepinephrine signaling in the brain which results from abrupt opioid withdrawal, and thereby reduces the severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms.  Continue reading

Less Restrictive Marijuana Laws Linked To Reduced Opioid Prescriptions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Italia V. Rolle, PhD and Dr. Tim McAfee, MD Office on Smoking and Health National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion CDC

Marijuana plant

Hefei Wen, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Management & Policy
University of Kentucky College of Public Health 

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

Response: Marijuana is one of the potential, non-opioid alternatives that can relieve pain at a relatively lower risk of addiction and virtually no risk of overdose. Medical and adult-use marijuana laws, has made marijuana available to more Americans. Yet no study to date has focused on the effect of medical and adult-use marijuana laws on opioid prescribing in particular.

Our study provides some of the first empirical evidence that the implementation of medical and adult-use marijuana laws between 2011 and 2016 was associated with lower opioid prescribing rates and spending among Medicaid enrollees.   Continue reading