“Addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers – has reached epidemic levels across the country, with treatment waitlists also at an all-time high. However, ensuring timely access to effective treatment – particularly in rural states like Vermont – has become a substantial problem. University of Vermont (UVM) Associate Professor of Psychiatry Stacey Sigmon, Ph.D., has taken a stand to address this issue and has a new grant to support her campaign.
Sigmon’s latest project, funded by a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) award, will develop a novel Interim Buprenorphine Treatment (IBT) to help opioid-dependent Vermonters bridge challenging waitlist delays. She’s proposed a treatment “package” of five key components designed to maximize patient access to evidence-based medication for opioid dependence while minimizing common barriers to treatment success, including risks of medication non-adherence, abuse and diversion.”
The five components include:
- Three months of maintenance therapy using buprenorphine.
- A, computerized portable device manufactured in Finland called a Med-O-Wheel, which dispenses each day’s dose at a predetermined time, after which all medication is locked away and inaccessible.
- Clinical support will come from a mobile health platform that uses technology to deliver patient monitoring and support beyond the confines of the medical office.
- The fourth component involves an automated call-back procedure during which participants are contacted at randomly-determined intervals and directed to visit the clinic for a pill count and urinalysis.
- Development and provision of an HIV and hepatitis educational intervention delivered via a portable iPad platform.
“These technologies are particularly compatible with rural settings, says Sigmon, where there are multiple burdens – including long distances and transportation barriers – that can make it hard for a patient to come to a treatment center on a daily basis.
Once developed, these treatment components also don’t need to be limited to people on wait lists. In fact, they can also be used to support the physicians with patients already enrolled in a methadone, office-based buprenorphine or pain management clinics,” says Sigmon.”
Source: MedicalXpress.com – April 10, 2014