Sunday, February 14, 2016

Cue-Induced Craving to Paraphernalia & Drug Images in Opioid Dependence

Stimuli that are repeatedly paired with substance use, such as drug paraphernalia, can themselves elicit drug craving. The aim of this study was to examine whether particular cue types elicit greater craving responses than others among individuals with opioid dependence.

Participants seeking inpatient treatment for opioid dependence were recruited for a study of cue-induced craving. This sample (N = 50), included 25 primary heroin users, 20 primary prescription opioid users, and 5 users of heroin and prescription opioids equally. Participants completed a cue reactivity task, in which images of drug-related stimuli were presented on a computer screen, each followed by a question assessing state drug craving.

Overall, participants reported higher craving following paraphernalia stimuli relative to drug stimuli. However, this was moderated by opioid type; there was significantly higher craving in response to images of paraphernalia cues in the heroin group, and higher craving in response to drug cues in the prescription opioid group.

These findings highlight potential differences in cue reactivity to opioid paraphernalia and drug cues, which appears to be moderated by drug type.

Cue-induced craving is an important factor in relapse. This study adds further to the literature on cue-induced craving in opioid dependence, suggesting that craving may vary based on both cue type and opioid type. Future studies designed to discriminate the impact of substance of abuse, route of administration, and cue type will help to further clarify cue-induced craving in this population.

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By:  McHugh RK1,2Fulciniti F1Mashhoon Y2,3Weiss RD1,2.
  • 1Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 3Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory, McLean Imaging Center, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts. 
  •  2016 Feb 5. doi: 10.1111/ajad.12344.

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