A systematic review of assessment approaches to predict opioid misuse in people with cancer

Robyn Keall, Paul Keall, Carly Kiani, Tim Luckett, Richard McNeill, Melanie Lovell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Context: Cancer prevalence is increasing, with many patients requiring opioid analgesia. Clinicians need to ensure patients receive adequate pain relief. However, opioid misuse is widespread, and cancer patients are at risk. Objectives: This study aims (1) to identify screening approaches that have been used to assess and monitor risk of opioid misuse in patients with cancer; (2) to compare the prevalence of risk estimated by each of these screening approaches; and (3) to compare risk factors among demographic and clinical variables associated with a positive screen on each of the approaches. Methods: Medline, Cochrane Controlled Trial Register, PubMed, PsycINFO, and Embase databases were searched for articles reporting opioid misuse screening in cancer patients, along with handsearching the reference list of included articles. Bias was assessed using tools from the Joanna Briggs Suite. Results: Eighteen studies met the eligibility criteria, evaluating seven approaches: Urine Drug Test (UDT) (n = 8); the Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain (SOAPP) and two variants, Revised and Short Form (n = 6); the Cut-down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye-opener (CAGE) tool and one variant, Adapted to Include Drugs (n = 6); the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) (n = 4); Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) (n = 3); the Screen for Opioid-Associated Aberrant Behavior Risk (SOABR) (n = 1); and structured/specialist interviews (n = 1). Eight studies compared two or more approaches. The rates of risk of opioid misuse in the studied populations ranged from 6 to 65%, acknowledging that estimates are likely to have varied partly because of how specific to opioids the screening approaches were and whether a single or multi-step approach was used. UDT prompted by an intervention or observation of aberrant opioid behaviors (AOB) were conclusive of actual opioid misuse found to be 6.5–24%. Younger age, found in 8/10 studies; personal or family history of anxiety or other mental ill health, found in 6/8 studies; and history of illicit drug use, found in 4/6 studies, showed an increased risk of misuse. Conclusions: Younger age, personal or familial mental health history, and history of illicit drug use consistently showed an increased risk of opioid misuse. Clinical suspicion of opioid misuse may be raised by data from PMP or any of the standardized list of AOBs. Clinicians may use SOAPP-R, CAGE-AID, or ORT to screen for increased risk and may use UDT to confirm suspicion of opioid misuse or monitor adherence. More research into this important area is required. Significance of results: This systematic review summarized the literature on the use of opioid misuse risk approaches in people with cancer. The rates of reported risk range from 6 to 65%; however, true rate may be closer to 6.5–24%. Younger age, personal or familial mental health history, and history of illicit drug use consistently showed an increased risk of opioid misuse. Clinicians may choose from several approaches. Limited data are available on feasibility and patient experience. PROSPERO registration number. CRD42020163385.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5645-5658
Number of pages14
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume30
Issue number7
Early online dateFeb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

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