Employment-based reinforcement of adherence to an FDA approved extended release formulation of naltrexone in opioid-dependent adults: A randomized controlled trial

Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21224, United States.
Drug and alcohol dependence (Impact Factor: 3.28). 07/2011; 120(1-3):48-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.06.023
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Naltrexone provides excellent opioid blockade, but its clinical utility is limited because opioid-dependent patients typically refuse it. An injectable suspension of naltrexone for extended release (XR-NTX) was recently approved by the FDA for treatment of opioid dependence. XR-NTX treatment may require concurrent behavioral intervention to maximize adherence and effectiveness, thus we sought to evaluate employment-based reinforcement as a method of improving adherence to XR-NTX in opiate dependent adults.
Opioid-dependent adults (n=38) were detoxified and inducted onto oral naltrexone, then randomly assigned to contingency or prescription conditions. Participants received up to six doses of XR-NTX at four-week intervals. All participants could earn vouchers for attendance and performance at a therapeutic workplace. Contingency participants were required to accept XR-NTX injections to access the workplace and earn vouchers. Prescription participants could earn vouchers independent of their acceptance of XR-NTX injections.
Contingency participants accepted significantly more naltrexone injections than prescription participants (87% versus 52%, p=.002), and were more likely to accept all injections (74% versus 26%, p=.004). Participants in the two conditions provided similar percentages of samples negative for opiates (72% versus 65%) and for cocaine (58% versus 54%). Opiate positivity was significantly more likely when samples were also cocaine positive, independent of naltrexone blockade (p=.002).
Long-term adherence to XR-NTX in unemployed opiate dependent adults is low under usual care conditions. Employment-based reinforcement can maintain adherence to XR-NTX. Ongoing cocaine use appears to interfere with the clinical effectiveness of XR-NTX on opiate use.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The strong association between unemployment and drug addiction suggests that employment interventions are an important and needed focus of drug-addiction treatment. The increasing necessity of possessing basic academic skills to function in the workplace may require that some individuals receive educational training along with vocational training. This study investigated the academic skills of drug-addicted and chronically-unemployed adults (N = 559) who were enrolled in one of six studies conducted at the Center for Learning and Health in Baltimore, MD. Upon study enrollment, academic skills in math, spelling, and reading were examined using the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT-3 or WRAT-4) and educational history was examined using the Addiction Severity Index-Lite. Although participants completed an average of 11 years of education, actual academic skill level was at or below the seventh grade level for 81% of participants in math, 61% in spelling, and 43% in reading, and most participants were classified as Low Average or below based on age group norms. Despite the fact that participants in this analysis were studied across several years and were from diverse populations, rates of high school completion and academic skill levels were remarkably similar. Programs designed to improve the long-term employment status of drug-addicted individuals may benefit from the inclusion of basic adult education; future research on the topic is needed. Although establishing basic skills does not directly address chronic unemployment, it may help individuals obtain the jobs they desire and function effectively in those jobs.
    Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 42(1):67-74. DOI:10.3233/JVR-140724
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Drug abuse remains costly. Drug-related cues can evoke cue-reactivity and craving, contributing to relapse. The Pavlovian extinction-based cue-exposure therapy (CET) has not been very successful in treating drug abuse. A functional operant analysis of complex rituals involved in CET is outlined and reinterpreted as an operant heterogeneous chain maintained by observing responses, conditioned reinforcers, and discriminative stimuli. It is further noted that operant functions are not predicated on Pavlovian processes but can be influenced by them in contributing to relapse; several empirical studies from the animal and human literature highlight this view. Cue-reactivity evoked by Pavlovian processes is conceptualized as an operant establishing/motivating operation. CET may be more effective in incorporating an operant-based approach that takes into account the complexity of Pavlovian-operant interaction. Extinction of the operant chain coupled with the shaping of alternative behaviors is proposed as an integrated therapy. It is proposed that operant-based drug abuse treatments (contingency management, voucher programs, and the therapeutic work environment) might consider incorporating cue-reactivity, as establishing/motivating operations, to increase long-term success-a hybrid approach based on Pavlovian-operant interaction.
    The Psychological record 01/2013; 63(4):863-894. DOI:10.11133/j.tpr.2013.63.4.010 · 0.96 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: After participating in this activity, learners should be better able to: Evaluate the rationale for and current evidence supporting medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder. Medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder with physiological dependence at least doubles rates of opioid-abstinence outcomes in randomized, controlled trials comparing psychosocial treatment of opioid use disorder with medication versus with placebo or no medication. This article reviews the current evidence for medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder and also presents clinical practice imperatives for preventing opioid overdose and the transmission of infectious disease. The evidence strongly supports the use of agonist therapies to reduce opioid use and to retain patients in treatment, with methadone maintenance remaining the gold standard of care. Combined buprenorphine/naloxone, however, also demonstrates significant efficacy and favorable safety and tolerability in multiple populations, including youth and prescription opioid-dependent individuals, as does buprenorphine monotherapy in pregnant women. The evidence for antagonist therapies is weak. Oral naltrexone demonstrates poor adherence and increased mortality rates, although the early evidence looks more favorable for extended-release naltrexone, which has the advantages that it is not subject to misuse or diversion and that it does not present a risk of overdose on its own. Two perspectives-individualized treatment and population management-are presented for selecting among the three available Food and Drug Administration-approved maintenance therapies for opioid use disorder. The currently unmet challenges in treating opioid use disorder are discussed, as are the directions for future research.
    Harvard Review of Psychiatry 03/2015; 23(2):63-75. DOI:10.1097/HRP.0000000000000075 · 2.49 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 28, 2014