March 9, 2018

New Opioid Studies Led by UAMS Researchers and Collaborating Sites

Funding for two inter-institutional pilot studies looking at opioid abuse was announced today by the UAMS Translational Research Institute.

One study seeks to address opioid use disorders in pregnant women.

“The study will harmonize data collection utilizing an iPad-based data collection tool with input from providers and patients,” said Jessica L. Coker, M.D., who will lead the study at UAMS in collaboration with researchers at the University of Kentucky, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, and University of Utah. “This initial work will benefit future studies that compare interventions.”

Coker’s project aims to demonstrate best practices for coordinating multi-site studies and leveraging CTSA resources, such as REDCap, to create a unified database management system.

“The primary goal of this project is to develop and test the feasibility of protocols for standardized data collection across multiple sites that provide care for pregnant women with opioid use disorders,” the pilot study application states. “We will identify key metrics for comparing interventions to reduce the negative effects of opioid use disorders among this population and demonstrate the effectiveness of an innovative iPad-based patient-centered data collection tool that can be easily used within a clinic setting.”

The pilot data will be used to seek outside funding for a large prospective study comparing models of care for pregnant women with opioid use disorders across the four sites.

Up to $25,000 is available to the researchers at each institution.

The other study will use existing patient data to look at the early care decisions and the risk of long-term opioid use in patients with low back pain. Bradley C. Martin, Pharm.D., Ph.D., will lead the study at UAMS in collaboration with researchers at the University of Utah.

“Our study brings together researchers from Utah and UAMS interested in leveraging big data to better understand the opioid epidemic,” said Martin, a professor in the UAMS College of Pharmacy. “We can then translate the lessons learned to improved decision-making by health care providers to reduce the risks associated with opioid prescribing.”

The study is utilizing the All-Payer Claims Databases available in each state. The databases provide de-identified records of publicly and privately insured patients who seek medical service. The pilot study findings will be used in applications seeking funding for larger-scale studies of the opioid issue.

The collaborating institutions in both studies are members of the Western States Consortium, which includes Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program institutions. The CTSA Program is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health. The Western States Consortium also includes the University of Kansas Medical Center.