Research News Roundup: September 28, 2023

    Measuring Time in Buprenorphine Treatment Stages Among People with HIV and Opioid Use Disorder by Retention Definition and Its Association with Cocaine and Hazardous Alcohol Use

    Journal: Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s13722-023-00408-8

    Authors: Jarratt D. Pytell, Anthony T. Fojo, Jeanne C. Keruly, LaQuita N. Snow, Oluwaseun Falade-Nwulia, Richard D. Moore, Geetanjali Chander, & Catherine R. Lesko


    Background: We use a novel, longitudinal approach to describe average time spent in opioid use disorder (OUD) cascade of care stages for people with HIV (PWH) and with OUD, incorporating four definitions of treatment retention. Using this approach, we describe the impact of cocaine or hazardous alcohol use on time spent retained on buprenorphine.

    Methods: We followed PWH with OUD enrolled in the Johns Hopkins HIV Clinical Cohort from their first buprenorphine treatment episode between 2013 and 2020. We estimated 4-year restricted mean time spent on buprenorphine below buprenorphine retention threshold, on buprenorphine above retention threshold, off buprenorphine and in HIV care, loss to follow-up, and death. Retention definitions were based on retention threshold (180 vs 90 days) and allowable treatment gap (7 vs 30 days). Differences in 2-year restricted mean time spent retained on buprenorphine were estimated for patients with and without cocaine or hazardous alcohol use.

    Results: The study sample (N = 179) was 63% male, 82% non-Hispanic Black, and mean age was 53 (SD 8) years. Patients spent on average 13.9 months (95% CI 11.4, 16.4) on buprenorphine over 4 years. There were differences in time spent retained on buprenorphine based on the retention definition, ranging from 6.5 months (95% CI 4.6, 8.5) to 9.6 months (95% CI 7.4, 11.8). Patients with cocaine use spent fewer months retained on buprenorphine. There were no differences for patients with hazardous alcohol use.

    Conclusions: PWH with OUD spend relatively little time receiving buprenorphine in their HIV primary care clinic. Concurrent cocaine use at buprenorphine initiation negatively impact time on buprenorphine.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Associations Between Nicotine Product Use and Craving Among Stable Daily and Non-Daily Users

    Journal: Addictive Behaviors, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2023.107803

    Authors: Brandon W. Reed, Neal Doran, & Kelly E. Courtney


    Nicotine craving typically develops shortly after last use and is conceptualized as essential to the development, maintenance, and treatment of nicotine dependence. Previous research has primarily examined the relationship between craving and use among individuals trying to quit smoking, and less is known about this relationship among active users, particularly e-cigarette users. The current study evaluated the association between craving and use by assessing both constructs twice daily over 7 days in a sample of daily (n = 80) and non-daily (n = 34) users of combustible tobacco and e-cigarette products. We used negative binomial regression modeling to analyze the relationship between nicotine craving and use in two ways. First, we evaluated a lagged model in which craving at the time of assessment predicted use during the next time period. Next, we evaluated a model in which maximum craving since the last assessment predicted use during the same time period. Maximum craving was significantly and positively associated with nicotine product use (p <.05) while craving at the time of assessment was not. These associations did not differ depending on use frequency or on specific products used. Findings provide evidence that self-report ratings of craving are associated with greater nicotine and tobacco product use for both frequent and intermittent users. Furthermore, these results may be useful in developing or modifying interventions for a wide variety of nicotine users, including those who are not yet intending to make a change to their nicotine use.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    A Digital Counselor-Delivered Intervention for Substance Use Among People With HIV: Development and Usability Study

    Journal: JMIR Formative Research, 2023, doi: 10.2196/40260

    Authors: Heidi E. Hutton, Saavitri Aggarwal, Afroza Gillani, & Geetanjali Chander


    Background: Substance use disorders are prevalent and undertreated among people with HIV. Computer-delivered interventions (CDIs) show promise in expanding reach, delivering evidence-based care, and offering anonymity. Use in HIV clinic settings may overcome access barriers. Incorporating digital counselors may increase CDI engagement, and thereby improve health outcomes.

    Objective: We aim to develop and pilot a digital counselor-delivered brief intervention for people with HIV who use drugs, called “C-Raven,” which is theory grounded and uses evidence-based practices for behavior change.

    Methods: Intervention mapping was used to develop the CDI including a review of the behavior change research in substance use, HIV, and digital counselors. We conducted in-depth interviews applying the situated-information, motivation, and behavior skills model and culturally adapting the content for local use with people with HIV. With a user interaction designer, we created various digital counselors and CDI interfaces. Finally, a mixed methods approach using in-depth interviews and quantitative assessments was used to assess the usability, acceptability, and cultural relevance of the intervention content and the digital counselor.

    Results: Participants found CDI easy to use, useful, relevant, and motivating. A consistent suggestion was to provide more information about the negative impacts of drug use and the interaction of drug use with HIV. Participants also reported that they learned new information about drug use and its health effects. The CDI was delivered by a “Raven,” digital counselor, programmed to interact in a motivational interviewing style. The Raven was perceived to be nonjudgmental, understanding, and emotionally responsive. The appearance and images in the intervention were perceived as relevant and acceptable. Participants noted that they could be more truthful with a digital counselor, however, it was not unanimously endorsed as a replacement for a human counselor. The C-Raven Satisfaction Scale showed that all participants rated their satisfaction at either a 4 (n=2) or a 5 (n=8) on a 5-point Likert scale and all endorsed using the C-Raven program again.

    Conclusions: CDIs show promise in extending access to care and improving health outcomes but their development necessarily requires integration from multiple disciplines including behavioral medicine and computer science. We developed a cross-platform compatible CDI led by a digital counselor that interacts in a motivational interviewing style and (1) uses evidence-based behavioral change methods, (2) is culturally adapted to people with HIV who use drugs, (3) has an engaging and interactive user interface, and (4) presents personalized content based on participants’ ongoing responses to a series of menu-driven conversations. To advance the continued development of this and other CDIs, we recommend expanded testing, standardized measures to evaluate user experience, integration with clinician-delivered substance use treatment, and if effective, implementation into HIV clinical care.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Relationship Between Medication Adherence for Opioid Use Disorder and Health Care Costs and Health Care Events in a Claims Dataset

    Journal: Journal of Substance Use and Addiction Treatment, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.josat.2023.209139

    Authors: Shirley Liao, Steve Jang, Jordan A. Tharp, & Natalie A. Lester


    Introduction: Medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) has well-documented benefits for treating OUD, though its efficacy depends on patient adherence. We know little about outcomes of MOUD nonadherence compared to treatment regimens without MOUD, and this article aims to address the gap. This analysis focused on office-based MOUD treatment (buprenorphine and naltrexone) to evaluate the long-term impact of adherence on subsequent health care costs and health care events.

    Methods: With claims data from 2017 to 2019, we used propensity score (PS) weighting to create three comparable cohorts of patients: 1) Adherent: filled MOUD prescription & ≧80 % of days covered by MOUD (N = 1045); 2) Nonadherent: filled MOUD & < 80 % of days covered (N = 1116), 3) did not fill MOUD (N = 16,784). The study defined three time intervals based on a patient’s most recent MOUD episode: A 6-month baseline period before initiation of MOUD or random index date for those with MOUD; a 6-month treatment period, during which adherence or nonadherence was established; and a 12-month follow-up period to evaluate outcome measures. The study used generalized PS methodology to examine the effect of proportion of days covered (PDC) as a continuous measure of adherence.

    Results: Among patients who filled MOUD, adherence to MOUD was significantly predicted by having less severe OUD, being older, having fewer inpatient visits and lower outpatient costs before the start of treatment. Adherent patients displayed significantly lower health care costs in the follow-up period compared to nonadherent MOUD patients, and lower odds of experiencing health care events. The nonadherent MOUD group displayed significantly higher odds of health care events compared to patients who had no evidence of receiving MOUD in claims data (NO-MOUD). Among patients prescribed MOUD, each 10 % increase in PDC was associated with a significant decrease in inpatient/outpatient costs and in odds of health care events.

    Conclusions: This analysis aligns with previous findings about the importance of maintaining long-term adherence to MOUD in supporting patient outcomes. The results also suggest a novel finding that despite confounder control via PS methods, nonadherent patients display poorer outcomes compared to similar NO-MOUD patients.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.


    September 2023