Using a pragmatically adapted, low-cost contingency management intervention to promote heroin abstinence in individuals undergoing treatment for heroin use disorder in UK drug services (PRAISE): a cluster randomised trial

Metrebian, N. et al. (2021) Using a pragmatically adapted, low-cost contingency management intervention to promote heroin abstinence in individuals undergoing treatment for heroin use disorder in UK drug services (PRAISE): a cluster randomised trial. BMJ Open, 11(7), e046371. (doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046371)

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Introduction: Most individuals treated for heroin use disorder receive opioid agonist treatment (OAT)(methadone or buprenorphine). However, OAT is associated with high attrition and persistent, occasional heroin use. There is some evidence for the effectiveness of contingency management (CM), a behavioural intervention involving modest financial incentives, in encouraging drug abstinence when applied adjunctively with OAT. UK drug services have a minimal track record of applying CM and limited resources to implement it. We assessed a CM intervention pragmatically adapted for ease of implementation in UK drug services to promote heroin abstinence among individuals receiving OAT. Design: Cluster randomised controlled trial. Setting and participants: 552 adults with heroin use disorder (target 660) enrolled from 34 clusters (drug treatment clinics) in England between November 2012 and October 2015. Interventions: Clusters were randomly allocated 1:1:1 to OAT plus 12× weekly appointments with: (1) CM targeted at opiate abstinence at appointments (CM Abstinence); (2) CM targeted at on-time attendance at appointments (CM Attendance); or (3) no CM (treatment as usual; TAU). Modifications included monitoring behaviour weekly and fixed incentives schedule. Measurements: Primary outcome: heroin abstinence measured by heroin-free urines (weeks 9–12). Secondary outcomes: heroin abstinence 12 weeks after discontinuation of CM (weeks 21–24); attendance; self-reported drug use, physical and mental health. Results: CM Attendance was superior to TAU in encouraging heroin abstinence. Odds of a heroin-negative urine in weeks 9–12 was statistically significantly greater in CM Attendance compared with TAU (OR=2.1; 95% CI 1.1 to 3.9; p=0.030). CM Abstinence was not superior to TAU (OR=1.6; 95% CI 0.9 to 3.0; p=0.146) or CM Attendance (OR=1.3; 95% CI 0.7 to 2.4; p=0.438) (not statistically significant differences). Reductions in heroin use were not sustained at 21–24 weeks. No differences between groups in self-reported heroin use. Conclusions: A pragmatically adapted CM intervention for routine use in UK drug services was moderately effective in encouraging heroin abstinence compared with no CM only when targeted at attendance. CM targeted at abstinence was not effective. Trial registration number ISRCTN 01591254.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: This paper presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research Programme (grant reference number RP-PG-0707-10149). The research was also part funded by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Goodfellow, Ms Claire
Authors: Metrebian, N., Weaver, T., Goldsmith, K., Pilling, S., Hellier, J., Pickles, A., Shearer, J., Byford, S., Mitcheson, L., Bijral, P., Bogdan, N., Bowden-Jones, O., Day, E., Dunn, J., Glasper, A., Finch, E., Forshall, S., Akhtar, S., Bajaria, J., Bennett, C., Bishop, E., Charles, V., Davey, C., Desai, R., Goodfellow, C., Haque, F., Little, N., McKechnie, H., Mosler, F., Morris, J., Mutz, J., Pauli, R., Poovendran, D., Phillips, E., and Strang, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:BMJ Open
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):2044-6055
Published Online:01 July 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021
First Published:First published in BMJ Open 11(7):e046371
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

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