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Machine Learning-Driven Analysis of Individualized Treatment Effects Comparing Buprenorphine and Naltrexone in Opioid Use Disorder Relapse Prevention

Afshar, Majid; Graham Linck, Emma J; Spicer, Alexandra B; Rotrosen, John; Salisbury-Afshar, Elizabeth M; Sinha, Pratik; Semler, Matthew W; Churpek, Matthew M
OBJECTIVE:A trial comparing extended-release naltrexone and sublingual buprenorphine-naloxone demonstrated higher relapse rates in individuals randomized to extended-release naltrexone. The effectiveness of treatment might vary based on patient characteristics. We hypothesized that causal machine learning would identify individualized treatment effects for each medication. METHODS:This is a secondary analysis of a multicenter randomized trial that compared the effectiveness of extended-release naltrexone versus buprenorphine-naloxone for preventing relapse of opioid misuse. Three machine learning models were derived using all trial participants with 50% randomly selected for training (n = 285) and the remaining 50% for validation. Individualized treatment effect was measured by the Qini value and c-for-benefit, with the absence of relapse denoting treatment success. Patients were grouped into quartiles by predicted individualized treatment effect to examine differences in characteristics and the observed treatment effects. RESULTS:The best-performing model had a Qini value of 4.45 (95% confidence interval, 1.02-7.83) and a c-for-benefit of 0.63 (95% confidence interval, 0.53-0.68). The quartile most likely to benefit from buprenorphine-naloxone had a 35% absolute benefit from this treatment, and at study entry, they had a high median opioid withdrawal score (P < 0.001), used cocaine on more days over the prior 30 days than other quartiles (P < 0.001), and had highest proportions with alcohol and cocaine use disorder (P ≤ 0.02). Quartile 4 individuals were predicted to be most likely to benefit from extended-release naltrexone, with the greatest proportion having heroin drug preference (P = 0.02) and all experiencing homelessness (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS:Causal machine learning identified differing individualized treatment effects between medications based on characteristics associated with preventing relapse.
PMID: 38776423
ISSN: 1935-3227
CID: 5654682

Rapid Initiation of Injection Naltrexone for Opioid Use Disorder: A Stepped-Wedge Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial

Shulman, Matisyahu; Greiner, Miranda G; Tafessu, Hiwot M; Opara, Onumara; Ohrtman, Kaitlyn; Potter, Kenzie; Hefner, Kathryn; Jelstrom, Eve; Rosenthal, Richard N; Wenzel, Kevin; Fishman, Marc; Rotrosen, John; Ghitza, Udi E; Nunes, Edward V; Bisaga, Adam
IMPORTANCE/UNASSIGNED:Injectable extended-release (XR)-naltrexone is an effective treatment option for opioid use disorder (OUD), but the need to withdraw patients from opioid treatment prior to initiation is a barrier to implementation. OBJECTIVE/UNASSIGNED:To compare the effectiveness of the standard procedure (SP) with the rapid procedure (RP) for XR-naltrexone initiation. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS/UNASSIGNED:The Surmounting Withdrawal to Initiate Fast Treatment with Naltrexone study was an optimized stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial conducted at 6 community-based inpatient addiction treatment units. Units using the SP were randomly assigned at 14-week intervals to implement the RP. Participants admitted with OUD received the procedure the unit was delivering at the time of their admission. Participant recruitment took place between March 16, 2021, and July 18, 2022. The last visit was September 21, 2022. INTERVENTIONS/UNASSIGNED:Standard procedure, based on the XR-naltrexone package insert (approximately 5-day buprenorphine taper followed by a 7- to 10-day opioid-free period and RP, defined as 1 day of buprenorphine at minimum necessary dose, 1 opioid-free day, and ascending low doses of oral naltrexone and adjunctive medications (eg, clonidine, clonazepam, antiemetics) for opioid withdrawal. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES/UNASSIGNED:Receipt of XR-naltrexone injection prior to inpatient discharge (primary outcome). Secondary outcomes included opioid withdrawal scores and targeted safety events and serious adverse events. All analyses were intention-to-treat. RESULTS/UNASSIGNED:A total of 415 participants with OUD were enrolled (mean [SD] age, 33.6 [8.48] years; 205 [49.4%] identified sex as male); 54 [13.0%] individuals identified as Black, 91 [21.9%] as Hispanic, 290 [69.9%] as White, and 22 [5.3%] as multiracial. Rates of successful initiation of XR-naltrexone among the RP group (141 of 225 [62.7%]) were noninferior to those of the SP group (68 of 190 [35.8%]) (odds ratio [OR], 3.60; 95% CI, 2.12-6.10). Withdrawal did not differ significantly between conditions (proportion of days with a moderate or greater maximum Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale score (>12) for RP vs SP: OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 0.62-2.50). Targeted safety events (RP: 12 [5.3%]; SP: 4 [2.1%]) and serious adverse events (RP: 15 [6.7%]; SP: 3 [1.6%]) were infrequent but occurred more often with RP than SP. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE/UNASSIGNED:In this trial, the RP of XR-naltrexone initiation was noninferior to the standard approach and saved time, although it required more intensive medical management and safety monitoring. The results of this trial suggest that rapid initiation could make XR-naltrexone a more viable treatment for patients with OUD. TRIAL REGISTRATION/ Identifier: NCT04762537.
PMID: 38717773
ISSN: 2574-3805
CID: 5656012

Discontinuation of medication treatment for opioid use disorder after a successful course: The discontinuation phase of the CTN-0100 (RDD) trial

Shulman, Matisyahu; Provost, Scott; Ohrtman, Kaitlyn; Novo, Patricia; Meyers-Ohki, Sarah; Van Veldhuisen, Paul; Oden, Neal; Otterstatter, Michael; Bailey, Genie L; Liu, David; Rotrosen, John; Nunes, Edward V; Weiss, Roger D
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND/BACKGROUND:Buprenorphine, and extended-release naltrexone, are effective in decreasing opioid use, morbidity and mortality. The available evidence suggests that these medications should be used for long term treatment; however, patients often ask how long they need to be on medication, and whether it would be safe to discontinue. There are sparse data to guide us. The CTN-0100 trial will address this gap in our knowledge by studying participants who have decided to discontinue buprenorphine and extended-release naltrexone for OUD. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS/METHODS:The trial is a multicenter, randomized, non-blinded study. Participants are stable adult volunteers, on sublingual buprenorphine, extended-release buprenorphine, or extended-release naltrexone, expressing an interest in discontinuing medication. Participants on buprenorphine must be stable for at least 1 year and participants on extended-release naltrexone must be stable for at least 6 months. Participants are engaged in the study for up to 96 weeks, including a flexible taper period, and are then transitioned to follow-up within the trial. All participants are randomly assigned to the study Medical Management (MM) or to MM plus Connections (CHESS health) digital smartphone application aimed at recovery and abstinence (MMD). Sublingual Buprenorphine participants are also randomized (2 × 2 design) to a taper using either sublingual or extended-release buprenorphine. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:It is hoped that this trial will provide a rich source of data on management of patients discontinuing medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) to inform future research and practice. The trial will shed light on which strategies are most likely to lead to long-term success (absence of relapse), and what participant characteristics distinguish those who can safely discontinue MOUD from those who remain at risk of relapse should they discontinue. CLINICALTRIALS/RESULTS:gov Identifier: NCT04464980.
PMID: 38657730
ISSN: 1559-2030
CID: 5657652

Target trial emulation for comparative effectiveness research with observational data: Promise and challenges for studying medications for opioid use disorder

Christine, Paul J; Lodi, Sara; Hsu, Heather E; Bovell-Ammon, Benjamin; Yan, Shapei; Bernson, Dana; Novo, Patricia; Lee, Joshua D; Rotrosen, John; Liebschutz, Jane; Walley, Alexander Y; Larochelle, Marc R
Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) increase retention in care and decrease mortality during active treatment; however, information about the comparative effectiveness of different forms of MOUD is sparse. Observational comparative effectiveness studies are subject to many types of bias; a robust framework to minimize bias would improve the quality of comparative effectiveness evidence. This paper discusses the use of target trial emulation as a framework to conduct comparative effectiveness studies of MOUD with administrative data. Using examples from our planned research project comparing buprenorphine-naloxone and extended-release naltrexone with respect to the rates of MOUD discontinuation, we provide a primer on the challenges and approaches to employing target trial emulation in the study of MOUD.
PMID: 38519819
ISSN: 1360-0443
CID: 5641042

Optimizing the use of ketamine to reduce chronic postsurgical pain in women undergoing mastectomy for oncologic indication: study protocol for the KALPAS multicenter randomized controlled trial

Wang, Jing; Doan, Lisa V; Axelrod, Deborah; Rotrosen, John; Wang, Binhuan; Park, Hyung G; Edwards, Robert R; Curatolo, Michele; Jackman, Carina; Perez, Raven; ,
BACKGROUND:Mastectomies are commonly performed and strongly associated with chronic postsurgical pain (CPSP), more specifically termed postmastectomy pain syndrome (PMPS), with 25-60% of patients reporting pain 3 months after surgery. PMPS interferes with function, recovery, and compliance with adjuvant therapy. Importantly, it is associated with chronic opioid use, as a recent study showed that 1 in 10 patients continue to use opioids at least 3 months after curative surgery. The majority of PMPS patients are women, and, over the past 10 years, women have outpaced men in the rate of growth in opioid dependence. Standard perioperative multimodal analgesia is only modestly effective in prevention of CPSP. Thus, interventions to reduce CPSP and PMPS are urgently needed. Ketamine is well known to improve pain and reduce opioid use in the acute postoperative period. Additionally, ketamine has been shown to control mood in studies of anxiety and depression. By targeting acute pain and improving mood in the perioperative period, ketamine may be able to prevent the development of CPSP. METHODS:Ketamine analgesia for long-lasting pain relief after surgery (KALPAS) is a phase 3, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial to study the effectiveness of ketamine in reducing PMPS. The study compares continuous perioperative ketamine infusion vs single-dose ketamine in the postanesthesia care unit vs placebo for reducing PMPS. Participants are followed for 1 year after surgery. The primary outcome is pain at the surgical site at 3 months after the index surgery as assessed with the Brief Pain Inventory-short form pain severity subscale. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS:This project is part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative, a nationwide effort to address the opioid public health crisis. This study can substantially impact perioperative pain management and can contribute significantly to combatting the opioid epidemic. TRIAL REGISTRATION/ NCT05037123. Registered on September 8, 2021.
PMID: 38243266
ISSN: 1745-6215
CID: 5624462

Individual-Level Risk Prediction of Return to Use During Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Luo, Sean X; Feaster, Daniel J; Liu, Ying; Balise, Raymond R; Hu, Mei-Chen; Bouzoubaa, Layla; Odom, Gabriel J; Brandt, Laura; Pan, Yue; Hser, Yih-Ing; VanVeldhuisen, Paul; Castillo, Felipe; Calderon, Anna R; Rotrosen, John; Saxon, Andrew J; Weiss, Roger D; Wall, Melanie; Nunes, Edward V
IMPORTANCE/UNASSIGNED:No existing model allows clinicians to predict whether patients might return to opioid use in the early stages of treatment for opioid use disorder. OBJECTIVE/UNASSIGNED:To develop an individual-level prediction tool for risk of return to use in opioid use disorder. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS/UNASSIGNED:This decision analytical model used predictive modeling with individual-level data harmonized in June 1, 2019, to October 1, 2022, from 3 multicenter, pragmatic, randomized clinical trials of at least 12 weeks' duration within the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network (CTN) performed between 2006 and 2016. The clinical trials covered a variety of treatment settings, including federally licensed treatment sites, physician practices, and inpatient treatment facilities. All 3 trials enrolled adult participants older than 18 years, with broad pragmatic inclusion and few exclusion criteria except for major medical and unstable psychiatric comorbidities. INTERVENTION/UNASSIGNED:All participants received 1 of 3 medications for opioid use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine, or extended-release naltrexone. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES/UNASSIGNED:Predictive models were developed for return to use, which was defined as 4 consecutive weeks of urine drug screen (UDS) results either missing or positive for nonprescribed opioids by week 12 of treatment. RESULTS/UNASSIGNED:The overall sample included 2199 trial participants (mean [SD] age, 35.3 [10.7] years; 728 women [33.1%] and 1471 men [66.9%]). The final model based on 4 predictors at treatment entry (heroin use days, morphine- and cocaine-positive UDS results, and heroin injection in the past 30 days) yielded an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) of 0.67 (95% CI, 0.62-0.71). Adding UDS in the first 3 treatment weeks improved model performance (AUROC, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.78-0.85). A simplified score (CTN-0094 OUD Return-to-Use Risk Score) provided good clinical risk stratification wherein patients with weekly opioid-negative UDS results in the 3 weeks after treatment initiation had a 13% risk of return to use compared with 85% for those with 3 weeks of opioid-positive or missing UDS results (AUROC, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.76-0.84). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE/UNASSIGNED:The prediction model described in this study may be a universal risk measure for return to opioid use by treatment week 3. Interventions to prevent return to regular use should focus on this critical early treatment period.
PMID: 37792357
ISSN: 2168-6238
CID: 5625732

Retention and critical outcomes among new methadone maintenance patients following extended take-home reforms: a retrospective observational cohort study

Williams, Arthur Robin; Krawczyk, Noa; Hu, Mei-Chen; Harpel, Lexa; Aydinoglo, Nicole; Cerda, Magdalena; Rotrosen, John; Nunes, Edward V
BACKGROUND/UNASSIGNED:Approximately 1800 opioid treatment programs (OTPs) in the US dispense methadone to upwards of 400,000 patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) annually, operating under longstanding highly restrictive guidelines. OTPs were granted novel flexibilities beginning March 15, 2020, allowing for reduced visit frequency and extended take-home doses to minimize COVID exposure with great variation across states and sites. We sought to use electronic health records to compare retention in treatment, opioid use, and adverse events among patients newly entering methadone maintenance in the post-reform period in comparison with year-ago, unexposed, controls. METHODS/UNASSIGNED:Retrospective observational cohort study across 9 OTPs, geographically dispersed, in the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network. Newly enrolled patients between April 15 and October 14, 2020 (post-COVID, reform period) v. March 15-September 14, 2019 (pre-COVID, control period) were assessed. The primary outcome was 6-month retention. Secondary outcomes were opioid use and adverse events including emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and overdose. FINDINGS/UNASSIGNED: INTERPRETATION/UNASSIGNED:Policies allowing for extended take-home schedules were not associated with worse retention or adverse events despite slightly elevated rates of measured opioid use while in care. Relaxed guidelines were not associated with measurable increased harms and findings could inform future studies with prospective trials. FUNDING/UNASSIGNED:USDHHSNIDACTNUG1DA013035-15.
PMID: 38152421
ISSN: 2667-193x
CID: 5623252

Clinical and psychosocial outcomes by sex among individuals prescribed buprenorphine-naloxone (BUP-NX) or extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) for opioid use disorder

Paschen-Wolff, Margaret; Greenfield, Shelly F; Kathryn McHugh, R; Burlew, Kathleen; Pavlicova, Martina; Choo, Tse-Hwei; Barbosa-Leiker, Celestina; Ruglass, Lesia M; Mennenga, Sarah; Rotrosen, John; Nunes, Edward V; Campbell, Aimee N C
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:Limited research has explored sex differences in opioid use disorder medication (MOUD) treatment outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine MOUD initiation onto buprenorphine-naloxone (BUP-NX) versus extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) by sex, and sex differences in clinical and psychosocial outcomes. METHODS:Using data from a 24-week open-label comparative effectiveness trial of BUP-NX or XR-NTX, this study examined MOUD initiation (i.e., receiving a minimum one XR-NTX injection or first BUP-NX dose) and 24-week self-report outcomes. We used regression models to estimate the probability of MOUD initiation failure among the intent-to-treat sample (N = 570), and the main and interaction effects of sex on outcomes of interest among the subsample of participants who successfully initiated MOUD (n = 474). RESULTS:In the intent-to-treat sample, the odds of treatment initiation failure were not significantly different by sex. In the subsample of successful MOUD initiates, the effect of treatment on employment at week 24 was significantly moderated by sex (p = .003); odds of employment were not significantly different among males by MOUD type; females randomized to XR-NTX versus BUP-NX had 4.63 times greater odds of employment (p < .001). Males had significantly lower odds of past 30-day exchanging sex for drugs versus females (adjusted odds ratios [aOR] = 0.10, p = .004), controlling for treatment and baseline outcomes. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:Further research should explore how to integrate employment support into OUD treatment to improve patient outcomes, particularly among women. SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE:The current study addressed gaps in the literature by examining sex differences in MOUD initiation and diverse treatment outcomes in a large, national sample.
PMID: 37583120
ISSN: 1521-0391
CID: 5607192

Risks of returning to opioid use at treatment entry and early in opioid use disorder treatment: Role of non-opioid substances

Castillo, Felipe; Hu, Mei-Chen; Liu, Ying; Balise, Raymond R; Weiss, Roger D; Rotrosen, John; Nunes, Edward V; Saxon, Andrew J; Feaster, Daniel J; Luo, Sean X
OBJECTIVE:Patients in treatment with medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) often report use of other substances in addition to opioids. Few studies exist that examine the relationship between use at treatment entry and early non-opioid use in opioid treatment outcome. METHODOLOGY/METHODS:We combined and harmonized three randomized, controlled MOUD clinical trials from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network (CTN) (N=2197) and investigated the association of non-opioid substance use at treatment entry and during early treatment with a return to opioid use. The trials compared MOUD treatment (buprenorphine, methadone, extended-release naltrexone) in populations with opioid use disorder (OUD). Non-opioid substances were identified through harmonizing self-reported use. The primary outcomes were markers of return to opioid use by 12 weeks. RESULTS:When treatment cohorts were adjusted, no association between self-reported treatment entry use of non-opioid substances and week-12 opioid use was detected. During the first month of treatment, higher use of cocaine (OR 1.41 [1.18-1.69]) and amphetamine (OR 1.70 [1.27-2.26]) was found to be associated with higher likelihood of illicit opioid use by week 12. Exploratory analyses of potential treatment cohort-by-predictor interactions showed that those with heavier cocaine use had a lower rate of returning to opioid use in the extended-release naltrexone group than in the methadone group. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Substance use other than opioids at treatment entry is not associated with relapse. Use of cocaine or amphetamines during the first few weeks of MOUD treatment may signal a worse outcome, suggesting a need for additional interventions.
PMID: 37604012
ISSN: 1879-0046
CID: 5598372

Implementation of substance use screening in rural federally-qualified health center clinics identified high rates of unhealthy alcohol and cannabis use among adult primary care patients

McNeely, Jennifer; McLeman, Bethany; Gardner, Trip; Nesin, Noah; Amarendran, Vijay; Farkas, Sarah; Wahle, Aimee; Pitts, Seth; Kline, Margaret; King, Jacquie; Rosa, Carmen; Marsch, Lisa; Rotrosen, John; Hamilton, Leah
BACKGROUND:Screening for substance use in rural primary care clinics faces unique challenges due to limited resources, high patient volumes, and multiple demands on providers. To explore the potential for electronic health record (EHR)-integrated screening in this context, we conducted an implementation feasibility study with a rural federally-qualified health center (FQHC) in Maine. This was an ancillary study to a NIDA Clinical Trials Network study of screening in urban primary care clinics (CTN-0062). METHODS:Researchers worked with stakeholders from three FQHC clinics to define and implement their optimal screening approach. Clinics used the Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription Medication, and Other Substance (TAPS) Tool, completed on tablet computers in the waiting room, and results were immediately recorded in the EHR. Adult patients presenting for annual preventive care visits, but not those with other visit types, were eligible for screening. Data were analyzed for the first 12 months following implementation at each clinic to assess screening rates and prevalence of reported unhealthy substance use, and documentation of counseling using an EHR-integrated clinical decision support tool, for patients screening positive for moderate-high risk alcohol or drug use. RESULTS:Screening was completed by 3749 patients, representing 93.4% of those with screening-eligible annual preventive care visits, and 18.5% of adult patients presenting for any type of primary care visit. Screening was self-administered in 92.9% of cases. The prevalence of moderate-high risk substance use detected on screening was 14.6% for tobacco, 30.4% for alcohol, 10.8% for cannabis, 0.3% for illicit drugs, and 0.6% for non-medical use of prescription drugs. Brief substance use counseling was documented for 17.4% of patients with any moderate-high risk alcohol or drug use. CONCLUSIONS:Self-administered EHR-integrated screening was feasible to implement, and detected substantial alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco use in rural FQHC clinics. Counseling was documented for a minority of patients with moderate-high risk use, possibly indicating a need for better support of primary care providers in addressing substance use. There is potential to broaden the reach of screening by offering it at routine medical visits rather than restricting to annual preventive care visits, within these and other rural primary care clinics.
PMID: 37726839
ISSN: 1940-0640
CID: 5610272