Both clinicians and researchers have expressed doubt that opiate dependent patients with significant pain can be effectively treated in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) programs; however, little research exists on this topic. Patients who report significant pain in the month preceding entry to MMT present with a distinct and more severe pattern of polysubstance use, medical and psychosocial problems than do those without pain. The present study investigated the 1-year treatment outcomes of MMT patients with opiate dependence and pain.
Analyses were based on a national sample of 200 patients presenting in MMT programs for treatment of opiate dependence. Substance use and related problems were measured at treatment entry and 12 months later. Patients reported pain severity over the month preceding treatment entry.
Compared to patients without significant pain, patients who reported significant pain at baseline (n = 103) showed similar substance-related functioning, but poorer psychosocial functioning at 1 year.
Patients with and without significant pain experience comparable reductions in substance use when provided with standard care in MMT programs. However, additional medical and/or mental health treatment is needed for their pain and other problems.
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"Some small studies have suggested that buprenorphine/naloxone may be associated with improved pain in opioid dependent patients with chronic pain  . However, a study of opioid dependent patients who were treated with methadone did not find overall changes in pain level at one year . Alternative, non-opioid pharmacologic therapies are needed to address pain in opioid dependent populations. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pain is common among opioid-dependent patients, yet pharmacologic strategies are limited. The aim of this study was to explore whether escitalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, was associated with reductions in pain. The study used longitudinal data from a randomized, controlled trial that evaluated the effects of escitalopram on treatment retention in patients with depressive symptoms who were initiating buprenorphine/naloxone for treatment of opioid dependence. Participants were randomized to receive escitalopram 10 mg or placebo daily. Changes in pain severity, pain interference, and depression were assessed at 1-, 2-, and 3-month visits with the visual analog scale, Brief Pain Inventory, and the Beck Depression Inventory II, respectively. Fixed-effects estimators for panel regression models were used to assess the effects of intervention on changes in outcomes over time. Additional models were estimated to explore whether the intervention effect was mediated by within-person changes in depression. In this sample of 147 adults, we found that participants randomized to escitalopram had significantly larger reductions on both pain severity (b=-14.34, t=-2.66, P<.01) and pain interference (b=-1.20, t=-2.23, P<.05) between baseline and follow-up. After adjusting for within-subject changes in depression, the estimated effects of escitalopram on pain severity and pain interference were virtually identical to the unadjusted effects. This study of opioid-dependent patients with depressive symptoms found that treatment with escitalopram was associated with clinically meaningful reductions in pain severity and pain interference during the first 3 months of therapy.
"Survey items addressed the following domains: demographics, treatment history, opioid use, drug craving, and pain; the survey also asked patients for their 5-digit ZIP code. Pain items were included because of the high prevalence of pain complaints among OTP patients [9, 10]. These measures are described below. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examined commuting patterns among 23,141 methadone patients enrolling in 84 opioid treatment programs (OTPs) in the United States. Patients completed an anonymous one-page survey. A linear mixed model analysis was used to predict distance traveled to the OTP. More than half (60%) the patients traveled < 10 miles and 6% travelled between 50 and 200 miles to attend an OTP; 8% travelled across a state border to attend an OTP. In the multivariate model (n = 17,792), factors significantly (P < .05) associated with distance were, residing in the Southeast or Midwest, low urbanicity, area of the patient's ZIP code, younger age, non-Hispanic white race/ethnicity, prescription opioid abuse, and no heroin use. A significant number of OTP patients travel considerable distances to access treatment. To reduce obstacles to OTP access, policy makers and treatment providers should be alert to patients' commuting patterns and to factors associated with them.
Journal of Environmental and Public Health 07/2011; 2011:948789. DOI:10.1155/2011/948789
"This is, to our knowledge, the first report describing pain and its association with SUD outcome among individuals receiving bup-nx for opioid detoxification in a controlled clinical trial. As such, our findings extend previous reports indicating that persistent pain is associated with negative SUD treatment outcomes and confirm the importance of examining co-occurring physical pain in SUD populations (Caldeiro et al., 2008; Ilgen et al., 2006; Larson et al., 2007). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pain complaints are common among individuals with opioid dependence. However, few studies investigate pain during opioid detoxification or the impact this pain has on continued opioid use. This secondary analysis utilized data from two Clinical Trials Network randomized controlled trials of buprenorphine-naloxone for short-term opioid detoxification to examine the extent to which pain was associated with continued opioid use during and immediately following a 13-day detoxification protocol. At follow-up, more severe pain was associated with a greater number of self-reported days of opioid use during the prior 30 days (p < .05) but was not associated with urine toxicology results collected at follow-up. These results, although mixed, have potentially important clinical implications for assessing and addressing pain during opioid detoxification. Pain that is experienced during and immediately following medically monitored detoxification may be associated with continued opioid use. These findings lend further support for continued research on pain among patients with opioid dependence.