...on Primary Care
Clinical strategies for the primary health care professional to minimize prescription opioid abuse.
Gudin JA. Postgraduate Medicine 124(3): 131-138, 2012. (69 refs.)
Prescription opioid analgesic therapy can be effective in managing chronic noncancer pain in appropriately selected patients. However, the risks and benefits of prescription opioids should be carefully considered when treating this patient population. A dramatic increase in opioid-related morbidity and mortality has been observed in the United States in the past decade. Therefore, health care providers must balance the treatment of chronic pain with the need to minimize the risks of opioid misuse, abuse, addiction, and diversion. Current literature suggests that most patients with chronic pain are managed at the primary care level. However, many of these practitioners are not skilled in risk assessment, stratification, and monitoring. This article reviews strategies and tools that providers may implement to help identify appropriate patients for chronic opioid therapy and recognize signs of drug-related aberrant behaviors and abuse. In addition, the potential role of abuse-deterrent, extended-release opioid formulations to reduce risk in patients and nonmedical users of opioids is introduced. Collectively, these preventative measures may effectively reduce opioid misuse, abuse, and diversion without denying adequate analgesia in appropriate patients.
Copyright 2012, JTE Multimedia.
Frequent users of emergency departments: Developing standard definitions and defining prominent risk factors.
Doupe MB; Palatnick W; Day S; Chateau D; Soodeen RA; Burchill C et al. Annals of Emergency Medicine 60(1): 24-32, 2012. (57 refs.)
Study objective: We identify factors that define frequent and highly frequent emergency department (ED) users. Methods: Administrative health care records were used to define less frequent (1 to 6 visits), frequent (7 to 17 visits), and highly frequent (>= 18 visits) ED users. Analyses were conducted to determine the most unique demographic, disease, and health care use features of these groups. Results: Frequent users composed 9.9% of all ED visits, whereas highly frequent users composed 3.6% of visits. Compared with less frequent users, frequent users were defined most strongly by their substance abuse challenges and by their many visits to primary care and specialist physicians. Substance abuse also distinguished highly frequent from frequent ED users strongly; 67.3% versus 35.9% of these patient groups were substance abusers, respectively. Also, 70% of highly frequent versus only 17.8% of frequent users had a long history of frequent ED use. Last, highly frequent users did not use other health care services proportionally more than their frequent user counterparts, suggesting that these former patients use EDs as a main source of care. Conclusion: This research develops objective thresholds of frequent and highly frequent ED use. Although substance abuse is prominent in both groups, only highly frequent users seem to visit EDs in place of other health care services. Future analyses can investigate these patterns of health care use more closely, including how timely access to primary care affects ED use. Cluster analysis also has value for defining frequent user subgroups who may benefit from different yet equally effective treatment options.
Copyright 2012, Elsevier Science.
Implementing a statewide Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) service in rural health settings: New Mexico SBIRT.
Gonzales A; Westerberg VS; Peterson TR; Moseley A; Gryczynski J; Mitchell SG et al. Substance Abuse 33(2): 114-123, 2012. (32 refs.)
This is a report on the New Mexico Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) project conducted over 5 years as part of a national initiative launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration with the aim of increasing integration of substance use services and medical care. Throughout the state, 53,238 adults were screened for alcohol and/or drug use problems in ambulatory settings, with 12.2% screening positive. Baseline substance use behaviors among 6,360 participants eligible for brief intervention, brief treatment, or referral for treatment are examined and the process of implementation and challenges for sustainability are discussed.
Copyright 2012, Taylor & Francis.
Computer-facilitated substance use screening and brief advice for teens in primary care: An international trial.
Harris SK; Csemy L; Sherritt L; Starostova O; Van Hook S; Johnson J et al. Pediatrics 129(6): 1072-1082, 2012. (64 refs.)
Objective: Primary care providers need effective strategies for substance use screening and brief counseling of adolescents. We examined the effects of a new computer-facilitated screening and provider brief advice (cSBA) system. Methods: We used a quasi-experimental, asynchronous study design in which each site served as its own control. From 2005 to 2008, 12- to 18-year-olds arriving for routine care at 9 medical offices in New England (n = 2096, 58% females) and 10 in Prague, Czech Republic (n = 589, 47% females) were recruited. Patients completed measurements only during the initial treatment-as-usual study phase. We then conducted 1-hour provider training, and initiated the cSBA phase. Before seeing the provider, all cSBA participants completed a computerized screen, and then viewed screening results, scientific information, and true-life stories illustrating substance use harms. Providers received screening results and "talking points" designed to prompt 2 to 3 minutes of brief advice. We examined alcohol and cannabis use, initiation, and cessation rates over the past 90 days at 3-month follow-up, and over the past 12 months at 12-month follow-up. Results: Compared with treatment as usual, cSBA patients reported less alcohol use at follow-up in New England (3-month rates 15.5% vs 22.9%, adjusted relative risk ratio [aRRR] = 0.54, 95% confidence interval 0.38-0.77; 12-month rates 29.3% vs 37.5%, aRRR = 0.73, 0.57-0.92), and less cannabis use in Prague (3-month rates 5.5% vs 9.8%, aRRR = 0.37, 0.17-0.77; 12-month rates 17.0% vs 28.7%, aRRR = 0.47, 0.32-0.71). Conclusions: Computer-facilitated screening and provider brief advice appears promising for reducing substance use among adolescent primary care patients.
Copyright 2012, American Academy of Pediatrics.
Do general medical practice characteristics influence the effectiveness of smoking cessation programs? A multilevel analysis.
Hiscock R; Moon G; Pearce J; Barnett R; Daley V. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 14(6): 703-710, 2012. (31 refs.)
General practice is a recommended setting for the delivery of smoking cessation programs. Little is known about the types of practice that achieve higher cessation rates. To address this gap in knowledge, we assessed the impact of general practice characteristics on the outcomes of a large scale smoking cessation intervention delivered in general practice settings. A cross-sectional study was undertaken of 7,778 participants enrolled on a structured cessation program comprising repeated brief interventions in one-to-one sessions and nicotine replacement therapy in Christchurch New Zealand, 2001-2007. We employed a logistic multilevel analysis of respondents nested in general practices with cessation at 6 months as the outcome measure. After taking into account relevant individual-level predictors (age, sex, smoking intensity) and area-level surrogates for individual predictors (socioeconomic status and access to tobacco retail outlets), there remained significant variation in quit rates between practices. This variation reduced when practice characteristics were included. Practices with a majority of male doctors and practices with fewer male patients were associated with better quit rates. Practices with large numbers of doctors were less effective in achieving cessation with heavy smokers. The effectiveness of smoking cessation programs can be influenced significantly by practice characteristics. To increase quit rates, more attention should be paid to the institutional setting of smoking cessation programs. Assessments of the effectiveness of cessation programs should give appropriate recognition to the fact that some practices may find higher quit rates more difficult to achieve.
Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.
Practices, perceptions, and concerns of primary care physicians about opioid dependence associated with the treatment of chronic pain.
Keller CE; Ashrafioun L; Neumann AM; Van Klein J; Fox CH; Blondell RD. Substance Abuse 33(2): 103-113, 2012. (26 refs.)
When prescribing opioids to treat chronic pain, physicians face the dilemma of balancing effective pain management while avoiding iatrogenic opioid addiction. Through mailed surveys, the current study assessed concerns, perceptions, and practices of primary care physicians related to this dilemma. Of the 35 (43%) physicians that replied, 32 (91.4%) reported to prescribe opioids for pain. Twenty-six (81.3%) physicians mentioned that "legitimate pain" was the main reason why most patients who are opioid dependent begin using opioids. Most physicians (71.5%) rated their knowledge/comfort of treatment/management of opioid dependence as being low. Although these physicians believed training is essential to learning about the risks involved with chronic pain and opioid dependence, many of these physicians evaluated their own medical training in these areas as unsatisfactory. Training programs may better equip primary care physicians when addressing the treatment of chronic pain and addiction to opioids.
Copyright 2012, Taylor & Francis.
Physicians' beliefs about faith-based treatments for alcoholism.
Lawrence RE; Rasinski KA; Yoon JD; Koenig HG; Meador KG; Curlin FA. Psychiatric Services 63(6): 597-604, 2012. (24 refs.)
Objective: The study examined physicians' beliefs about faith-based alcohol treatments vis-a-vis Alcoholics Anonymous, pharmacologic treatment, and residential treatment. Methods: A survey was mailed to a national sample of U.S. primary care physicians and psychiatrists. It included a brief vignette of a nominally religious 47-year-old man hospitalized for acute alcohol poisoning who requested addiction treatment. Physicians rated the likely effectiveness of three treatment methods: Alcoholics Anonymous, pharmacological therapy by an addiction specialist, and a residential program. Physicians were asked whether they would refer the patient to a faith-based program (beyond Alcoholics Anonymous) and whether an emphasis on spirituality is critical to 12-step program success. Results: The response rate was 896 of 1,427 (63%) for primary care physicians and 312 of 487 (64%) for psychiatrists. Psychiatrists were more likely to rate Alcoholics Anonymous as very effective (64% versus 57% of primary care physicians), more likely to rate residential treatment as very effective (47% versus 38% of primary care physicians), and more likely to rate pharmacologic therapy as very effective (31% versus 22% of primary care physicians). Psychiatrists and primary care physicians were equally likely to consider referring the patient to a faith-based program (71% and 79%) and equally likely to believe that "an emphasis on spirituality is critical to the success of 12-step programs" (81% and 85%). Conclusions: Psychiatrists were more optimistic than primary care physicians about all three treatments. Physicians in both specialties would refer even nominally religious patients to explicitly faith-based programs (beyond Alcoholics Anonymous). Physicians' enthusiasm for faith-based treatments highlights the need for scientific study of these treatments to determine which elements are most helpful for patients seeking recovery.
Copyright 2012, American Psychiatric Association.
Impact of an electronic alert and order set on smoking cessation medication prescription.
Mathias JS; Didwania AK; Baker DW. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 14(6): 674-681, 2012. (32 refs.)
Tobacco cessation medication use increases the likelihood of a successful quit attempt, but few smokers are prescribed medications. Electronic health records (EHRs) may increase cessation medication prescription. This study aimed to assess the impact of an electronic alert and linked order set on cessation medication prescription. This pre- and postintervention cohort study was conducted in an urban academic general internal medicine practice with a comprehensive EHR. All active smokers with 2 or more visits to the practice in 2008 (preintervention cohort) or 2009 (postintervention cohort) were included. An electronic alert and linked order set were designed and implemented. The primary outcome was prescription of any cessation medication (nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion, or varenicline). Secondary outcomes included counseling referral and change in smoking status to quit during the study period (i.e., "quit rate"). There were 1,349 and 1,346 smokers in the pre- and postintervention cohorts, respectively. Cessation medication prescription did not significantly change after the intervention (14.4% vs. 13.4% of smokers in the preintervention cohort, p = .5). Counseling referrals increased from 2.0% to 7.2% in the postintervention cohort (p < .001). More smokers in the postintervention cohort changed their smoking status to quit during the study period (20.5% vs. 17.1%, p = .06). This provider-directed electronic alert and linked order set failed to increase cessation medication prescription. The consistent failure of provider-directed efforts to increase cessation medication use suggests that this is a patient-limited process. Future efforts to improve tobacco treatment should focus on overcoming patient-level barriers to cessation medication use.
Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.
Cost-effectiveness of long-term outpatient buprenorphine-naloxone treatment for opioid dependence in primary care.
Schackman BR; Leff JA; Polsky D; Moore BA; Fiellin DA. Journal of General Internal Medicine 27(6): 669-676, 2012. (45 refs.)
Primary care physicians with appropriate training may prescribe buprenorphine-naloxone (bup/nx) to treat opioid dependence in US office-based settings, where many patients prefer to be treated. Bup/nx is off patent but not available as a generic. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of long-term office-based bup/nx treatment for clinically stable opioid-dependent patients compared to no treatment. A decision analytic model simulated a hypothetical cohort of clinically stable opioid-dependent individuals who have already completed 6 months of office-based bup/nx treatment. Data were from a published cohort study that collected treatment retention, opioid use, and costs for this population, and published quality-of-life weights. Uncertainties in estimated monthly costs and quality-of-life weights were evaluated in probabilistic sensitivity analyses, and the economic value of additional research to reduce these uncertainties was also evaluated. Bup/nx, provider, and patient costs in 2010 US dollars, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness (CE) ratios ($/QALY); costs and QALYs are discounted at 3% annually. In the base case, office-based bup/nx for clinically stable patients has a CE ratio of $35,100/QALY compared to no treatment after 24 months, with 64% probability of being < $100,000/QALY in probabilistic sensitivity analysis. With a 50% bup/nx price reduction the CE ratio is $23,000/QALY with 69% probability of being < $100,000/QALY. Alternative quality-of-life weights result in CE ratios of $138,000/QALY and $90,600/QALY. The value of research to reduce quality-of-life uncertainties for 24-month results is $6,400 per person eligible for treatment at the current bup/nx price and $5,100 per person with a 50% bup/nx price reduction. Office-based bup/nx for clinically stable patients may be a cost-effective alternative to no treatment at a threshold of $100,000/QALY depending on assumptions about quality-of-life weights. Additional research about quality-of-life benefits and broader health system and societal cost savings of bup/nx therapy is needed.
Copyright 2012, Springer.
Tobacco intervention practices of primary care physicians treating lower socioeconomic status patients.
Sheffer CE; Anders M; Brackman SL; Steinberg MB; Barone C. American Journal of the Medical Sciences 343(5): 388-396, 2012. (37 refs.)
Tobacco use greatly contributes to overall socioeconomic health disparities, and physicians are a major source of information about effective methods for tobacco cessation. This study examined the tobacco intervention practices of primary care physicians in Arkansas who treat a high proportion of lower socioeconomic status patients. More than 70% of respondents' patients were covered by Medicaid and/or Medicare or paid for primary care services without health insurance. Although physicians were highly motivated and considered cessation to be very important, 74% had no training of any kind in the treatment of tobacco dependence and familiarity with the free treatment services in Arkansas was low. Younger and nonwhite physicians and physicians with any type of training in treating tobacco dependence reported more positive attitudes, more frequent intervention behaviors and more familiarity with treatment services. More frequently seeing the effects of tobacco use on the health of patients as well as increased knowledge, preparedness, and perceived effectiveness of treatments were related to a higher frequency of providing cessation assistance. More frequently seeing the effects of tobacco use on patients, as well as increased familiarity with treatment services were related to a higher frequency of referring patients to treatment services. These findings suggest that training experiences that increase physician awareness of the multiplicity of consequences of tobacco use as well as increase knowledge, preparedness, perceived effectiveness of treatments and familiarity with treatment services will increase the frequency with which physicians assist and refer this important patient population.
Copyright 2012, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Implementation of a "learner-driven" curriculum: An Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) interdisciplinary primary care model.
Stanton MR; Atherton WL; Toriello PJ; Hodgson JL. Substance Abuse 33(3, special issue): 312-315, 2012. (3 refs.)
Although screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) has been a popular model to address potential substance abuse issues in primary care, there is a need for innovative approaches for training providers and staff on SBIRT protocols. An interdisciplinary approach to SBIRT training, named ICARE, was implemented at 3 different medical settings. The ICARE team trained 85 employees at an academic family medicine residency center and 37 employees across 2 rural community health care clinics. Using an innovative "learner-driven" approach, the authors implemented a combination of didactic and interactive training strategies that included on-site coaching, patient simulation exercises, as well as large-and small-group learning.
Copyright 2012, Taylor & Francis.