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Comparative effectiveness of extended-release naltrexone versus buprenorphine-naloxone for opioid relapse prevention (X:BOT): a multicentre, open-label, randomised controlled trial

Lee, Joshua D; Nunes, Edward V Jr; Novo, Patricia; Bachrach, Ken; Bailey, Genie L; Bhatt, Snehal; Farkas, Sarah; Fishman, Marc; Gauthier, Phoebe; Hodgkins, Candace C; King, Jacquie; Lindblad, Robert; Liu, David; Matthews, Abigail G; May, Jeanine; Peavy, K Michelle; Ross, Stephen; Salazar, Dagmar; Schkolnik, Paul; Shmueli-Blumberg, Dikla; Stablein, Don; Subramaniam, Geetha; Rotrosen, John
BACKGROUND: Extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX), an opioid antagonist, and sublingual buprenorphine-naloxone (BUP-NX), a partial opioid agonist, are pharmacologically and conceptually distinct interventions to prevent opioid relapse. We aimed to estimate the difference in opioid relapse-free survival between XR-NTX and BUP-NX. METHODS: We initiated this 24 week, open-label, randomised controlled, comparative effectiveness trial at eight US community-based inpatient services and followed up participants as outpatients. Participants were 18 years or older, had Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 opioid use disorder, and had used non-prescribed opioids in the past 30 days. We stratified participants by treatment site and opioid use severity and used a web-based permuted block design with random equally weighted block sizes of four and six for randomisation (1:1) to receive XR-NTX or BUP-NX. XR-NTX was monthly intramuscular injections (Vivitrol; Alkermes) and BUP-NX was daily self-administered buprenorphine-naloxone sublingual film (Suboxone; Indivior). The primary outcome was opioid relapse-free survival during 24 weeks of outpatient treatment. Relapse was 4 consecutive weeks of any non-study opioid use by urine toxicology or self-report, or 7 consecutive days of self-reported use. This trial is registered with, NCT02032433. FINDINGS: Between Jan 30, 2014, and May 25, 2016, we randomly assigned 570 participants to receive XR-NTX (n=283) or BUP-NX (n=287). The last follow-up visit was Jan 31, 2017. As expected, XR-NTX had a substantial induction hurdle: fewer participants successfully initiated XR-NTX (204 [72%] of 283) than BUP-NX (270 [94%] of 287; p<0.0001). Among all participants who were randomly assigned (intention-to-treat population, n=570) 24 week relapse events were greater for XR-NTX (185 [65%] of 283) than for BUP-NX (163 [57%] of 287; hazard ratio [HR] 1.36, 95% CI 1.10-1.68), most or all of this difference accounted for by early relapse in nearly all (70 [89%] of 79) XR-NTX induction failures. Among participants successfully inducted (per-protocol population, n=474), 24 week relapse events were similar across study groups (p=0.44). Opioid-negative urine samples (p<0.0001) and opioid-abstinent days (p<0.0001) favoured BUP-NX compared with XR-NTX among the intention-to-treat population, but were similar across study groups among the per-protocol population. Self-reported opioid craving was initially less with XR-NTX than with BUP-NX (p=0.0012), then converged by week 24 (p=0.20). With the exception of mild-to-moderate XR-NTX injection site reactions, treatment-emergent adverse events including overdose did not differ between treatment groups. Five fatal overdoses occurred (two in the XR-NTX group and three in the BUP-NX group). INTERPRETATION: In this population it is more difficult to initiate patients to XR-NTX than BUP-NX, and this negatively affected overall relapse. However, once initiated, both medications were equally safe and effective. Future work should focus on facilitating induction to XR-NTX and on improving treatment retention for both medications. FUNDING: NIDA Clinical Trials Network.
PMID: 29150198
ISSN: 1474-547x
CID: 2785132

Extended-Release Naltrexone to Prevent Opioid Relapse in Criminal Justice Offenders

Lee, Joshua D; Friedmann, Peter D; Kinlock, Timothy W; Nunes, Edward V; Boney, Tamara Y; Hoskinson, Randall A Jr; Wilson, Donna; McDonald, Ryan; Rotrosen, John; Gourevitch, Marc N; Gordon, Michael; Fishman, Marc; Chen, Donna T; Bonnie, Richard J; Cornish, James W; Murphy, Sean M; O'Brien, Charles P
BACKGROUND: Extended-release naltrexone, a sustained-release monthly injectable formulation of the full mu-opioid receptor antagonist, is effective for the prevention of relapse to opioid dependence. Data supporting its effectiveness in U.S. criminal justice populations are limited. METHODS: In this five-site, open-label, randomized trial, we compared a 24-week course of extended-release naltrexone (Vivitrol) with usual treatment, consisting of brief counseling and referrals for community treatment programs, for the prevention of opioid relapse among adult criminal justice offenders (i.e., persons involved in the U.S. criminal justice system) who had a history of opioid dependence and a preference for opioid-free rather than opioid maintenance treatments and who were abstinent from opioids at the time of randomization. The primary outcome was the time to an opioid-relapse event, which was defined as 10 or more days of opioid use in a 28-day period as assessed by self-report or by testing of urine samples obtained every 2 weeks; a positive or missing sample was computed as 5 days of opioid use. Post-treatment follow-up occurred at weeks 27, 52, and 78. RESULTS: A total of 153 participants were assigned to extended-release naltrexone and 155 to usual treatment. During the 24-week treatment phase, participants assigned to extended-release naltrexone had a longer median time to relapse than did those assigned to usual treatment (10.5 vs. 5.0 weeks, P<0.001; hazard ratio, 0.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.36 to 0.68), a lower rate of relapse (43% vs. 64% of participants, P<0.001; odds ratio, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.65), and a higher rate of opioid-negative urine samples (74% vs. 56%, P<0.001; odds ratio, 2.30; 95% CI, 1.48 to 3.54). At week 78 (approximately 1 year after the end of the treatment phase), rates of opioid-negative urine samples were equal (46% in each group, P=0.91). The rates of other prespecified secondary outcome measures--self-reported cocaine, alcohol, and intravenous drug use, unsafe sex, and reincarceration--were not significantly lower with extended-release naltrexone than with usual treatment. Over the total 78 weeks observed, there were no overdose events in the extended-release naltrexone group and seven in the usual-treatment group (P=0.02). CONCLUSIONS: In this trial involving criminal justice offenders, extended-release naltrexone was associated with a rate of opioid relapse that was lower than that with usual treatment. Opioid-use prevention effects waned after treatment discontinuation. (Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse; number, NCT00781898.).
PMID: 27028913
ISSN: 1533-4406
CID: 2079662

Public sector low threshold office-based buprenorphine treatment: outcomes at year 7

Bhatraju, Elenore Patterson; Grossman, Ellie; Tofighi, Babak; McNeely, Jennifer; DiRocco, Danae; Flannery, Mara; Garment, Ann; Goldfeld, Keith; Gourevitch, Marc N; Lee, Joshua D
BACKGROUND: Buprenorphine maintenance for opioid dependence remains of limited availability among underserved populations, despite increases in US opioid misuse and overdose deaths. Low threshold primary care treatment models including the use of unobserved, "home," buprenorphine induction may simplify initiation of care and improve access. Unobserved induction and long-term treatment outcomes have not been reported recently among large, naturalistic cohorts treated in low threshold safety net primary care settings. METHODS: This prospective clinical registry cohort design estimated rates of induction-related adverse events, treatment retention, and urine opioid results for opioid dependent adults offered buprenorphine maintenance in a New York City public hospital primary care office-based practice from 2006 to 2013. This clinic relied on typical ambulatory care individual provider-patient visits, prescribed unobserved induction exclusively, saw patients no more than weekly, and did not require additional psychosocial treatment. Unobserved induction consisted of an in-person screening and diagnostic visit followed by a 1-week buprenorphine written prescription, with pamphlet, and telephone support. Primary outcomes analyzed were rates of induction-related adverse events (AE), week 1 drop-out, and long-term treatment retention. Factors associated with treatment retention were examined using a Cox proportional hazard model among inductions and all patients. Secondary outcomes included overall clinic retention, buprenorphine dosages, and urine sample results. RESULTS: Of the 485 total patients in our registry, 306 were inducted, and 179 were transfers already on buprenorphine. Post-induction (n = 306), week 1 drop-out was 17%. Rates of any induction-related AE were 12%; serious adverse events, 0%; precipitated withdrawal, 3%; prolonged withdrawal, 4%. Treatment retention was a median 38 weeks (range 0-320) for inductions, compared to 110 (0-354) weeks for transfers and 57 for the entire clinic population. Older age, later years of first clinic visit (vs. 2006-2007), and baseline heroin abstinence were associated with increased treatment retention overall. CONCLUSIONS: Unobserved "home" buprenorphine induction in a public sector primary care setting appeared a feasible and safe clinical practice. Post-induction treatment retention of a median 38 weeks was in line with previous naturalistic studies of real-world office-based opioid treatment. Low threshold treatment protocols, as compared to national guidelines, may compliment recently increased prescriber patient limits and expand access to buprenorphine among public sector opioid use disorder patients.
PMID: 28245872
ISSN: 1940-0640
CID: 2471132

Association between jail-based methadone or buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder and overdose mortality after release from New York City jails 2011-2017

Lim, Sungwoo; Cherian, Teena; Katyal, Monica; Goldfeld, Keith S; McDonald, Ryan; Wiewel, Ellen; Khan, Maria; Krawczyk, Noa; Braunstein, Sarah; Murphy, Sean M; Jalali, Ali; Jeng, Philip J; MacDonald, Ross; Lee, Joshua D
BACKGROUND AND AIMS/OBJECTIVE:Opioid overdose is a leading cause of death during the immediate time after release from jail or prison. Most jails in the United States do not provide methadone and buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder (MOUD), and research in estimating its impact in jail settings is limited. We aimed to test the hypothesis that in-jail MOUD is associated with lower overdose mortality risk post-release. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS/METHODS:Retrospective, observational cohort study of 15 797 adults with opioid use disorder who were released from New York City jails to the community in 2011-17. They experienced 31 382 incarcerations and were followed up to 1 year. MEASUREMENTS/METHODS:The primary outcomes were death caused by accidental drug poisoning and all-cause death. The exposure was receipt of MOUD (17 119 events) versus out-of-treatment (14 263 events) during the last 3 days before community reentry. Covariates included demographic, clinical, behavioral, housing, healthcare utilization, and legal characteristics variables. We performed multivariable, mixed-effect Cox regression analysis to test association between in-jail MOUD and deaths. FINDINGS/RESULTS:A majority were male (82%) and their average age was 42 years. Receiving MOUD was associated with misdemeanor charges, being female, injection drug use, and homelessness. During 1 year post-release, 111 overdose deaths occurred, and crude death rates were 0.49 and 0.83 per 100 person-years for in-jail MOUD and out-of-treatment groups, respectively. Accounting for confounding and random effects, in-jail MOUD was associated with lower overdose mortality risk (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.20, 95% CI = 0.08-0.46), and all-cause mortality risk (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.22, 95% CI = 0.11-0.42) for the first month post-release. CONCLUSIONS:Methadone and buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder during incarceration was associated with an 80% reduction in overdose mortality risk for the first month post-release.
PMID: 36305669
ISSN: 1360-0443
CID: 5359662

Opioid Use Disorder Treatments: An Evidence Map

Sugarman, Allison; Vittitow, Alexandria; Cheng, Anna; Malone, Mia; McDonald, Ryan; Pace, Nancy; Williams, Ololade; Tofighi, Babak; McNeely, Jennifer; Schatz, Daniel; Roberts, Timothy; Hey, Spencer Phillips; Garrity, Kathleen; Lindquist, Kristin; Lee, Joshua D
BACKGROUND:Evidence maps are emerging data visualization of a systematic review. There are no published evidence maps summarizing opioid use disorder (OUD) interventions. AIM/OBJECTIVE:Our aim was to publish an interactive summary of all peer-reviewed interventional and observational trials assessing the treatment of OUD and common clinical outcomes. METHODS:PubMed, Embase, PsycInfo, Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials, and Web of Science were queried using multiple OUD-related MESH terms, without date limitations, for English-language publications. Inclusions were human subjects, treatment of OUD, OUD patient or community-level outcomes, and systematic reviews of OUD interventions. Exclusions were laboratory studies, reviews, and case reports. Two reviewers independently scanned abstracts for inclusion before coding eligible full-text articles by pre-specified filters: research design, study population, study setting, intervention, outcomes, sample size, study duration, geographical region, and funding sources. RESULTS:The OUD Evidence Map ( identified and assessed 12,933 relevant abstracts through 2020. We excluded 9455 abstracts and full text reviewed 2839 manuscripts; 888 were excluded, 1591 were included in the final evidence map. The most studied OUD interventions were methadone (n = 754 studies), buprenorphine (n = 499), and naltrexone (n = 134). The most common outcomes were heroin/opioid use (n = 708), treatment retention (n = 557), and non-opioid drug use (n = 368). Clear gaps included a wider array of opioid agonists for treatment, digital behavioral interventions, studies of OUD treatments in criminal justice settings, and overdose as a clinical outcome. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:This OUD Evidence Map highlights the importance of pharmacologic interventions for OUD and reductions in opioid use. Future iterations will update results annually and scan policy-level interventions.
PMID: 36332588
ISSN: 1879-0046
CID: 5358852

Polysubstance use before and during treatment with medication for opioid use disorder: Prevalence and association with treatment outcomes

Bunting, Amanda M; Krawczyk, Noa; Choo, Tse-Hwei; Pavlicova, Martina; McNeely, Jennifer; Tofighi, Babak; Rotrosen, John; Nunes, Edward; Lee, Joshua D
OBJECTIVE:Polysubstance use may complicate treatment outcomes for individuals who use opioids. This research aimed to examine the prevalence of polysubstance use in an opioid use disorder treatment trial population and polysubstance use's association with opioid relapse and craving. METHODS:This study is a secondary data analysis of individuals with opioid use disorder who received at least one dose of medication (n = 474) as part of a 24-week, multi-site, open label, randomized Clinical Trials Network study (CTN0051, X:BOT) comparing the effectiveness of extended-release naltrexone versus buprenorphine. Models examined pretreatment polysubstance use and polysubstance use during the initial 4 weeks of treatment on outcomes of relapse by week 24 of the treatment trial and opioid craving. RESULTS:Polysubstance use was generally not associated with treatment outcomes of opioid relapse and craving. Proportion of days of pretreatment sedative use was associated with increased likelihood of opioid relapse (OR: 1.01, 95 % CI: 1.00-1.02). Proportion of days of cocaine use during the initial 4 weeks of treatment was associated with increased likelihood of opioid relapse (OR: 1.05, 95 % CI: 1.01-1.09) but this effect was no longer significant once the potential of confounding by opioid use was considered. Sedative use during initial 4 weeks of treatment was associated with increased opioid craving (b: 0.77, 95 % CI: 0.01-1.52). The study found no other significant relationships. CONCLUSIONS:In the current study population, polysubstance use was only marginally associated with 24-week treatment outcomes.
PMID: 35773113
ISSN: 1873-6483
CID: 5281372

Injecting Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in Jails and Prisons: The Potential of Extended-release Buprenorphine in the Carceral Setting

Berk, Justin; Del Pozo, Brandon; Rich, Josiah D; Lee, Joshua D
As the opioid overdose cases rise, policy-makers and researchers should target interventions to populations at highest risk. Incarceration serves as a risk factor for opioid overdose (Gan et al. Addiction 2021) and a large portion of recent overdose deaths have had encounters in the criminal justice system. Medications for opioid use disorder in the criminal justice system can save lives, though unique administrative barriers in jails and prisons hinder access. As facilities expand medications for opioid use disorder access (due to new legislation and court rulings across states), extended-release buprenorphine offers an opportunity to overcome these barriers including logistics of administration, diversion concern, patient stigma, and an increased bridge of treatment during re-entry to the community. As extended-release buprenorphine has practical advantages in correctional health delivery, future research and policy discussions should investigate its optimal role in treating opiate addiction in a carceral setting.
PMID: 34954747
ISSN: 1935-3227
CID: 5107942

Commentary on Ajazi et al (2021) Re-analysis of the X:BOT Trial

Lee, Joshua D; Nunes, Edward V; Novo, Patricia; May, Jeanine; Matthews, Abigail; Van Veldhuisen, Paul; Lindblad, Robert; Liu, David; Rotrosen, John
PMID: 35960212
ISSN: 1935-3227
CID: 5287342

Perceptions and experiences toward extended-release buprenorphine among persons leaving jail with opioid use disorders before and during COVID-19: an in-depth qualitative study

Cheng, Anna; Badolato, Ryan; Segoshi, Andrew; McDonald, Ryan; Malone, Mia; Vasudevan, Kumar; Badiei, Beita; Sugarman, Allison; Macdonald, Ross; Mangat, Jasdeep; Giftos, Jonathan; Lee, Joshua D; Tofighi, Babak
BACKGROUND:Extended-release buprenorphine (XRB) offers a novel approach to sustained monthly treatment for people who use opioids in criminal justice settings (CJS). This study explores the experiences of adults receiving XRB as a jail-to-community treatment. METHODS AND FINDINGS:In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted among adult participants with opioid use disorder (OUD; n  = 16) who were recently released from NYC jails and maintained on XRB after switching from daily sublingual buprenorphine (SLB). Interviews elaborated on the acceptability and barriers and facilitators of XRB treatment pre- and post-release. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for content related to factors influencing XRB treatment uptake and community reentry. Important themes were grouped into systems, medication, and patient-level factors. Key systems-level factors influencing initiation of XRB in jail included an alternative to perceived stigmatization and privacy concerns associated with daily in-jail SLB administration and less concerns with buprenorphine diversion. In-jail peer networks positively influenced participant adoption of XRB. XRB satisfaction was attributed to reduced in-jail clinic and medication administration visits, perceived efficacy and blockade effects upon the use of heroin/fentanyl following release, and averting the risk of criminal activities to fund opioid use. Barriers to retention included post-injection withdrawal symptoms and cravings attributed to perceived suboptimal medication dosing, injection site pain, and lack of in-jail provider information about the medication. CONCLUSION:Participants were generally favorable to XRB initiation in jail and retention post-release. Further studies are needed to address factors influencing access to XRB in criminal justice settings, including stigma, ensuring patient privacy following initiation on XRB, and patient-, provider-, and correctional staff education pertaining to XRB. Trial Registration Identified: NCT03604159.
PMID: 35093164
ISSN: 1940-0640
CID: 5153262

A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Feasibility of a Medical Management-Based Text Messaging Intervention Combined With Buprenorphine in Primary Care

Tofighi, Babak; Durr, Meghan; Marini, Christina; Lewis, Crystal F; Lee, Joshua D
Background/UNASSIGNED:Mobile health (mHealth) tools offer an effective and personalized approach to enhance chronic disease management and may partially offset provider-level barriers to increasing buprenorphine prescribing in primary care. This study assessed the feasibility of integrating a text messaging-based medical management tool (TeMeS) in primary care among patients initiating buprenorphine. Methods/UNASSIGNED:TeMeS messages are categorized per the medical management model, programed in a HIPAA-compliant texting software (Apptoto©), and delivered in a tiered fashion over 8-weeks to patients. This mixed-methods evaluation of TeMeS utilized key stakeholder feedback (patients, physicians, administrators, nursing), text messaging software process measures, thematic analysis of patient participant text message content, and electronic administrative data (eg, appointment adherence, treatment retention) at 2-months. Results/UNASSIGNED:The study team approached 65 patients and n = 14 (21%) were ineligible or declined to participate in the study. Most eligible participants owned a smartphone (90%), responded to at least one text query (88%) over an average of 24 days, and few requested to stop receiving texts (6%). Participant text replies included responses to cognitive behavioral therapy-based queries (13.8%), confirming or rescheduling appointments (6.1%), and insurance, pharmacy, or clinical issues pertaining to buprenorphine dispensation or dosing (2%). Suggestions for design modifications included personalizing message content and adjusting message frequency per patient risk of illicit opioid reuse, use of video-based informational content, and real-time provider and staff support for emergent issues. Conclusion/UNASSIGNED:Our findings highlight the acceptability, feasibility, and high rates of engagement of utilizing text messaging to enhance self-management among patients initiating buprenorphine treatment.
PMID: 35356483
ISSN: 1178-2218
CID: 5219952