New Findings May Help Clinicians Ensure The Safe And Effective Use Of Opioid Medications

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Study finds that the SOAPP® is a highly sensitive instrument for predicting aberrant drug-related behavior.

This study is important because it provides new evidence that opioid risk assessment screening tools such as the SOAPP can increase the predictive power of the clinical interview, which is the foundation of the process," says Kevin Zacharoff, M.D.

At a time when prescription opioid abuse and misuse has become a major public health concern, new research may help clinicians and health care organizations determine the best approach for assessing the risk of aberrant drug-related behavior prior to initiating opioid therapy.

In a study to assess the sensitivity of common screening tools for predicting aberrant drug-related behavior, researchers found that the Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain (SOAPP), a brief, pen-and-paper self-report tool, is a highly sensitive instrument.

The study, conducted by researchers including leading pain specialist Steven D. Passik, Ph.D., compared the sensitivity of a semi-structured clinical interview and three screening tools: the SOAPP, the Diagnosis, Intractability, Risk, and Efficacy inventory (DIRE), and the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT). Results showed the highest sensitivity for the clinical interview (0.77) and the SOAPP (0.72), followed by the ORT (0.45) and the DIRE (0.17). In addition, the researchers found that combining the clinical interview with the SOAPP increased sensitivity to 0.90.

The findings appear in the current issue of Pain Medicine (Volume 10, Issue 8, pages 1426-1433).

"Given the relative infancy of research in predicting aberrant drug-related behavior, comparing the predictive validity of these measures may provide insight about the relative importance of particular risk factors," write the authors. "By comparing recently developed risk measures, this study may be able to give pain centers and specialists valuable information about risk measurement to utilize their resources efficiently, increase their ability to detect risk, and add safeguards to reduce risk when indicated."

"This study is important because it provides new evidence that opioid risk assessment screening tools such as the SOAPP can increase the predictive power of the clinical interview, which is the foundation of the process," says Kevin Zacharoff, M.D., Director of Medical Affairs at Inflexxion. "As we look ahead to the increased awareness of assessing opioid risk, and likely implementation of federally required Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) for opioid medications, we may begin to see more health care organizations and clinicians evaluating and incorporating these tools into the clinical workflow, so they can take an evidence-based approach to ensuring that opioid medications are used safely and effectively."

Developed by researchers at Inflexxion, the SOAPP is formally licensed for use at more than 50 health care organizations across the nation, including Kaiser Permanente. It is also available directly for individual clinical use at no cost to clinicians who register at PainEDU.org, Inflexxion’s award-winning educational website for health care professionals who prescribe pain medications.

About Inflexxion
Founded in 1989, Inflexxion leverages technology to improve public health. The company develops clinically validated tools and programs for critical areas of health care, including prevention and wellness education, addiction and pain treatment, and pharmaceutical risk management. These innovative, award-winning solutions help reduce health-related risks, enhance clinical outcomes, and positively impact the quality of care.

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Lara Romanowski
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