Ling W, Nadipelli VR, Ronquest N, Albright VA, Aldridge AP, Learned SM, Mehra V, Heidbreder C. Remission from chronic opioid use-studying environmental and socio-economic factors on recovery (RECOVER): study design and participant characteristics. Contemp Clin Trials. 2019 Jan;76:93-103. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2018.11.015.


Few opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment studies measure meaningful life changes during long-term recovery, focusing instead on retention and abstinence. Here, we report on the design and participant characteristics of the RECOVER study, a study exploring life changes in persons with OUD for up to 24 months following participation in a Phase III trial evaluating buprenorphine extended-release monthly injection for subcutaneous use (known as RBP-6000 during development). This multisite, observational, cohort study tracks clinical, environmental, and socio-economic changes using self-administered assessments, urine drug screens (UDS), and public databases. Outcomes include demographics (e.g., patient characteristics, employment history, criminal history), lifetime and recent OUD drug use and treatment, and current health and resource use. Demographic and psychosocial characteristics are compared to a national, population-based study. RECOVER participants (N = 533) tend to be single, white, males aged 26 years or older. Mean age at first opioid use was 21.7 years; lifetime substance-related overdose was 24.2%. At first assessment, 334 (62.7%) participants reported past 7-day and 296 (55.5%) reported past 28-day opioid abstinence. Five hundred UDS were collected at the first assessment; buprenorphine (90.6%), marijuana (45.2%), and opiates (34.4%) were most commonly identified. Two hundred forty-nine (47.2%) participants reported full- or part-time employment. Participants were like a national sample with differences found for age, race/ethnicity, employment, education, and health-related quality of life. We hope that further research using this approach can provide data supporting the patient-centered development of OUD treatments and be adopted by substance use disorder studies to incorporate recovery-related, life-activity outcomes.

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