April 24, 2012 (Atlanta, GA) — A review of this year's literature identifies the "top 10" addiction medicine articles across a range of addiction-related topics.

Michael Weaver, MD, from Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, and colleagues presented the findings here at the American Society of Addiction Medicine 43rd Annual Medical-Scientific Conference.

The researchers focused on peer-reviewed articles published from 2011 to 2012, conducting a Medline search of the word "addiction" and using the words "English" and "human" to limit their search. The search generated more than 1600 articles.

"We don't have a number 1 single most important article," Dr. Weaver told Medscape Medical News. "We picked a range of articles from across the spectrum of areas of interest within the field of addiction medicine," he said.

Dr. Weaver added that "different clinicians may find different articles to be more important to them in their individual practice."

The final list was reached by consensus, and articles were selected not only for their quality but also to represent different areas of addiction medicine.

However, in his presentation, Dr. Weaver pointed out that "these are our selections of what is important."

"There are several practical applications," Dr. Weaver said. "One article introduces a short screening tool for problem gambling that can be used specifically in a population that would already be in treatment for addiction problems," he said.

"Another article introduces a scale to measure severity of withdrawal from marijuana. Yet another article reviews the effectiveness of different medications for insomnia in patients in early recovery from alcohol dependence."

The 10 articles selected (listed in no particular order) were as follows:

  1. Yeh HH, Chen CY, Fang SY, Chang IS, Wu EC, Lin KM. Five-year trajectories of long-term benzodiazepine use by adolescents: patient, provider, and medication factors. Psychiatr Serv. 2011;62:900-7.

  2. McBride O, Cheng HG. Exploring the emergence of alcohol use disorder symptoms in the two years after onset of drinking: findings from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. Addiction. 2011;106:555-63.

  3. Volberg RA, Munck IM, Petry NM. A quick and simple screening method for pathological and problem gamblers in addiction programs and practices. Am J Addict. 2011;20:220-7.

  4. Alford DP, LaBelle CT, Kretsch N, et al. Collaborative care of opioid-addicted patients in primary care using buprenorphine: five-year experience. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171:425-31.

  5. Kolla BP, Mansukhani MP, Schneekloth T. Pharmacological treatment of insomnia in alcohol recovery: a systematic review. Alcohol. 2011;46:578-85.

  6. Bohnert AS, Valenstein M, Bair MJ, et al. Association between opioid prescribing patterns and opioid overdose-related deaths. JAMA. 2011;305:1315-21.

  7. Allsop DJ, Norberg MM, Copeland J, Fu S, Budney AJ. The Cannabis Withdrawal Scale development: patterns and predictors of cannabis withdrawal and distress. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011;119:123-9.

  8. West R, Zatonski W, Cedzynska M, et al. Placebo-controlled trial of cytisine for smoking cessation. N Engl J Med. 2011;365:1193-200.

  9. Elkashef A, Kahn R, Yu E, et al. Topiramate for the treatment of methamphetamine addiction: a multi-center placebo-controlled trial. Addiction. Published online December 16, 2011.

  10. Levine A, Huang Y, Drisaldi B, et al. Molecular mechanism for a gateway drug: epigenetic changes initiated by nicotine prime gene expression by cocaine. Sci Transl Med. 2011;3:107-109.

Dr. Weaver advised that clinicians reading the literature should think about how a particular study relates to their own clinical practice — that is, they should consider whether it relates to their own patient population and whether the conclusions seem reasonable in light of the methodology.

"Not all published studies were done really well, and some may not apply to the patients treated by a particular clinician," he added.

Edward Nunes, MD, with the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, in New York, attended the workshop and told Medscape Medical News that "practicing physicians need to be able to critically interpret research reports from the medical-scientific literature in order to know how the new knowledge can be applied to their patients."

According to Dr. Nunes, the researchers provided a "nice mixture of articles on epidemiology and clinical outcome or clinical trials research, which are the 2 types of articles that practicing clinicians will most need to be able to critically interpret, as this is the type of evidence most relevant to patient care."

Dr. Nunes added that the studies also included an overview of statistical and epidemiological concepts and skills needed to interpret research articles.

The presentation was not commercially funded. The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) 43rd Annual Medical-Scientific Conference. Workshop 2, presented April 20, 2012.

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