In their new article, “Effects of Bundling Medication for Opioid Use Disorder With an mHealth Intervention Targeting Addiction: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” in The American Journal of Psychiatry, the group tested the efficacy of medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) alone versus MOUD plus A-CHESS, an evidence-based smartphone intervention shown to improve addiction-related behaviors, to determine whether the combination further improved outcomes.
Medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) improves treatment retention and reduces illicit opioid use. A-CHESS is an evidence-based smartphone intervention shown to improve addiction-related behaviors. The authors tested the efficacy of MOUD alone versus MOUD plus A-CHESS to determine whether the combination further improved outcomes.
In an unblinded parallel-group randomized controlled trial, 414 participants recruited from outpatient programs were assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive either MOUD alone or MOUD+A-CHESS for 16 months and were followed for an additional 8 months. All participants were on methadone, buprenorphine, or injectable naltrexone. The primary outcome was abstinence from illicit opioid use; secondary outcomes were treatment retention, health services use, other substance use, and quality of life; moderators were MOUD type, gender, withdrawal symptom severity, pain severity, and loneliness. Data sources were surveys comprising multiple validated scales, as well as urine screens, every 4 months.
There was no difference in abstinence between participants in the MOUD+A-CHESS and MOUD-alone arms across time (odds ratio=1.10, 95% CI=0.90–1.33). However, abstinence was moderated by withdrawal symptom severity (odds ratio=0.95, 95% CI=0.91–1.00) and MOUD type (odds ratio=0.57, 95% CI=0.34–0.97). Among participants without withdrawal symptoms, abstinence rates were higher over time for those in the MOUD+A-CHESS arm than for those in the MOUD-alone arm (odds ratio=1.30, 95% CI=1.01–1.67). Among participants taking methadone, those in the MOUD+A-CHESS arm were more likely to be abstinent over time (b=0.28, SE=0.09) than those in the MOUD-alone arm (b=0.06, SE=0.08), although the two groups did not differ significantly from each other (∆b=0.22, SE=0.11). MOUD+A-CHESS was also associated with greater meeting attendance (odds ratio=1.25, 95% CI=1.05–1.49) and decreased emergency department and urgent care use (odds ratio=0.88, 95% CI=0.78–0.99).
Overall, MOUD+A-CHESS did not improve abstinence relative to MOUD alone. However, MOUD+A-CHESS may provide benefits for subsets of patients and may impact treatment utilization.
Full citation: Gustafson DH Sr, Landucci G, Vjorn OJ, Gicquelais RE, Goldberg SB, Johnston DC, Curtin JJ, Bailey GL, Shah DV, Pe-Romashko K, Gustafson DH Jr. Effects of Bundling Medication for Opioid Use Disorder With an mHealth Intervention Targeting Addiction: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Am J Psychiatry. 2023 Oct 4:appiajp20230055. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.20230055. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37789744.
Full article available through The American Journal of Psychiatry.