Interventions for Unhealthy Drug Use—Supplemental Report: A Systematic Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Book. 2020 06

Authors: Chou R, Dana T, Blazina I, Grusing S, Fu R, Bougatsos C

BACKGROUND: A U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) report found no consistent evidence that counseling interventions are effective at reducing drug use or improving other health outcomes in populations whose drug use was identified through primary care-based screening with questions about drug use or drug-related risks (i.e., “screen-detected populations”). Evidence from studies of persons seeking or referred for treatment for substance use or with clinical signs or symptoms of substance use (i.e., “treatment-seeking populations”) might also be useful for informing assessments regarding screening in primary care settings.
PURPOSE: This report updates a 2008 USPSTF report on screening for illicit drug use and supplements an updated USPSTF report on screening for any drug use, focusing on the benefits and harms of pharmacotherapy and psychosocial interventions for persons whose drug use was identified when seeking substance use treatment, when presenting with signs or symptoms of drug use, when screened for drug use in primary care or other settings with questions about drug use or drug-related risks, or other means.
DATA SOURCES: The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, and PsycINFO from inception to September 2018; surveillance for new literature was conducted through November 22, 2019.
STUDY SELECTION: We included trials of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved pharmacotherapies for opioid use disorder (methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone) and trials of psychosocial interventions for persons engaging in opioid, stimulant, cannabis, and mixed drug or polysubstance use. We also included trials of preemptive prescribing of naloxone in primary care settings as a rescue medication for opioid-related overdose. Trials compared included interventions against placebo, a minimal intervention, waitlist control, or usual care, and evaluated outcomes at ≥3 months for drug use or other risky behaviors; health, social, and legal consequences of drug use; or harms of treatment.
DATA EXTRACTION: One investigator abstracted data and a second investigator checked data abstraction for accuracy. Two investigators independently assessed study quality using methods developed by the USPSTF.
DATA SYNTHESIS (RESULTS): We included a total of 71 trials, with 19 trials of pharmacotherapies and 52 trials of psychosocial interventions. All trials of pharmacotherapies and 25 trials of psychosocial interventions were conducted in treatment-seeking populations. Psychosocial interventions commonly incorporated cognitive-behavioral or motivational interventions and ranged from brief interventions consisting of one or two sessions of no more than one hour to multiple treatment sessions over weeks or months. In most pharmacotherapy trials, drug use counseling was provided to all patients. No study evaluated benefits or harms of preemptive naloxone prescribed in primary care settings versus placebo or no naloxone as a rescue medication for opioid-related overdose. In treatment-seeking populations with opioid use disorder, naltrexone (12 trials; relative risk [RR] 0.73, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.62 to 0.85; number needed to treat [NNT] 5.3) and opioid agonist therapy with methadone or buprenorphine (4 trials; RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.82; NNT 2.9) were associated with decreased risk of drug use relapse compared with placebo or no pharmacotherapy. Naltrexone and methadone/buprenorphine therapy were also associated with increased likelihood of retention in substance use treatment (9 trials; RR 1.71, 95% CI 1.13 to 2.49; NNT 6.7 and 7 trials; RR 2.58, 95% CI 1.78 to 4.59; NNT 2.6; respectively). Evidence on harms of pharmacotherapies was limited, but indicated no increased risk of serious adverse events. Psychosocial interventions were associated with increased likelihood of abstinence from drug use versus control conditions at 3 to 4 months (15 trials, RR 1.60, 95% CI 1.24 to 2.13; NNT 11) and at 6 to 12 months (14 trials; RR 1.25, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.52; NNT 17), based on trials primarily conducted in treatment-seeking populations. Psychosocial interventions were also associated with a greater decrease versus control conditions in the number of drug use days (19 trials; mean difference −0.49 day in the last 7 days, 95% CI −0.85 to −0.13) and a small but statistically significant greater decrease in drug use severity (16 trials; standard mean difference −0.18, 95% CI −0.32 to −0.05) at 3- to 4-month followup. There was no difference between psychosocial interventions versus controls on drug use days or severity at longer (6 to 12 month) followup. Effects of psychosocial interventions were generally stronger in trials of treatment-seeking than screen-detected populations, trials that evaluated cannabis use than other types of drug use, and trials of more intensive than brief interventions. Few trials evaluated effects of psychosocial interventions for opioid or stimulant use, and estimates were imprecise.
LIMITATIONS: Limitations included restriction to English-language articles, statistical heterogeneity in pooled analyses, and little evidence on drug-related health, social, or legal outcomes; most trials had methodological limitations. Evidence was lacking on effectiveness of treatments for opioid use disorder related to prescription drug use or stimulant use and evidence was limited for adolescents or pregnant persons.
CONCLUSIONS: Pharmacotherapy and psychosocial interventions are effective at improving drug use outcomes, but evidence of effectiveness remains primarily derived from trials conducted in treatment-seeking populations. Although the applicability of data from such trials to persons whose drug use is identified through primary care-based screening is uncertain, intervention trials that enrolled patients based on screening identified a spectrum of drug use, ranging from mild drug use to more severe, untreated disease. The applicability of current evidence on drug use interventions to screening might be greater for the subset of patients screened in primary care settings with severe, untreated drug use who could utilize pharmacotherapies or more intensive psychosocial interventions.

PMID: 32550674

Source: ncbi 2

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