Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New Findings in Medication-Assisted Treatment

Some interesting new studies are showing promising results for patients all over the world:

Turns out, Quality of Life improvements aren't just for the wealthy:
Quality of Life (QoL) scores significantly improved in ALL four domains (psychological, physical, social and environmental) of the WHO QoL scale in patients in low and middle income countries, according to the authors of a systematic review of 13 studies involving over 1800 participants. The findings, published online last week in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, show that despite the apparent lack of resources in these countries, opiate replacement therapy with methadone or buprenorphine can be an effective treatment tool - with scores increasing along with the length of time at followup - and offering outcomes comparable to those seen in high income countries.
You can read the abstract of the study by Feelemeyer, et al., here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871613004225

The methadone of methamphetamine?:
In encouraging news for stimulant users, a small study has shown methylphenidate (Ritalin) to both improve symptoms and reduce use episodes, in a cohort of criminal justice-involved stimulant users with co-occurring ADHD. Similar findings have been published supporting mixed-amphetamine salts (Adderall) plus topiramate (Topamax) for the treatment of cocaine dependence, and more recently topiramate by itself. The authors of the small study note the high prevalence of ADHD among stimulant users in the criminal justice population and in their research used dosages that were high enough to be therapeutically effective for patients with a history of substance use disorders (a flaw, they argue, in previous studies of this kind). Could it be that we are getting closer to an accepted agonist maintenance treatment for stimulant use disorders? Read the results of the Swedish study by Konstenius, et al., published online this month in the journal Addiction:

Groups could improve access to AUD medications:
And finally, in a new study in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, researchers have shown that group pharmacotherapy is an effective intervention for patients on medication-assisted treatment of alcohol use disorders. The authors provide a brief description of this novel approach and their experiences implementing the program. They note that, for many clinicians, providing ongoing monitoring of these effective medications can create a barrier to implementation. What the team found however, was that a "medication group" was not only feasible, but it actually increased their patients' access to meds like disulfiram (Antabuse), naltrexone and acamprosate (Campral). Read the abstract from the report by Dr Shannon Robinson and a team at San Diego's VA Health Care System here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740547213001347


  1. Methylphenidate and dexamphetamine have both been proposed as possible substitution therapies, and have certainly, in the case of dexamphetamine, shown to improve retention rates. The problem with topiramate, which is of interest because of the pharmacological actions that lead to the inhibition of glutametergic activity, is that it has significant cognitive side effects.

    The group approach to medications is really interesting... will read that paper!

  2. The BEST part: Jack from the Nightmare before Xmas makes the occasional appearance!!!! (I never see him at Disney, it is always the princesses) Being a fan of the movie I was stocked to see him. I wanted to take pics with him (see pics soon!) but the line was wayyy too long. I wish that Sally was there too but maybe I missed her. sarahL


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