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Volatility and Change in Chronic Pain Severity Predict Outcomes of Treatment for Prescription Opioid Addiction.

Addiction 2017;112(7):1202-1209. [doi: 10.1111/add.13782]

Matthew J. Worley, PhD (University of California, San Diego), Keith G. Heinzerling, MD (University of California, Los Angeles), Steven Shoptaw, PhD (University of California, Los Angeles), Walter Ling, MD (University of California, Los Angeles, PR Node).

Buprenorphine-naloxone (BUP-NLX) can be used to manage prescription opioid addiction among persons with chronic pain, but post-treatment relapse is common and difficult to predict. This study, a secondary analysis of data from the CTN's Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment Study (POATS), estimated whether changes in pain over time and pain volatility during BUP-NLX maintenance would predict opioid use during the BUP-NLX taper. Study participants, from community clinics affiliated with POATS in 10 U.S. cities, were subjects with chronic pain who entered the BUP-NLX taper phase (N=125), with enrollment occurring from June 2006 to July 2009 (52% male, 88% Caucasian, 31% married). Outcomes were weekly biologically-verified and self-reported opiate use from the 4-week taper phase. Predictors were estimates of baseline severity, rate of change, and volatility in pain from weekly self-reports during the 12-week maintenance phase.

Controlling for baseline pain and treatment condition, increased pain and greater pain volatility predicted greater odds of positive opioid urine screen during BUP-NLX taper. Increased pain and greater pain volatility also predicted greater frequency of self-reported opioid use.

Conclusions: Adults with chronic pain receiving outpatient treatment with buprenorphine-naloxone (BUP-NLX) for prescription opioid addiction have elevated risk for opioid use when tapering off maintenance treatment. Those with relative persistence in pain over time and greater volatility in pain during treatment are less likely to sustain abstinence during BUP-NLX taper. These findings suggest that stabilizing and/or reducing subjective pain prior to discontinuation of BUP-NLX maintenance may be a means to improve treatment outcomes in this population. (Article (Peer-Reviewed), PDF, English, 2017)

Keywords: Buprenorphine/Naloxone | CTN platform/ancillary study | Opioid dependence | Pain management | Pharmacological therapy | Prescription-type opiates | Suboxone | Taper schedules | Addiction (journal)

Document No: 1255, PMID: 28164407, PMCID: PMC5461207 (available 7/1/2018).

Submitted by the CTN Dissemination Librarians (2/16/2017).

Heinzerling, Keith G.
Ling, Walter mail
Shoptaw, Steven
Worley, Matthew J. mail
NIDA-CTN-0030 www

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