3 years ago

Differences between treatment-seeking and non-treatment-seeking participants in medication studies for alcoholism: do they matter?

Spencer Bujarski, Megan M. Yardley, Daniel J. O. Roche, Emily E. Hartwell, Lara A. Ray

Background: Medication development for alcoholism typically includes experimental pharmacology studies with non-treatment-seeking individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) paving the way for randomized controlled trials in treatment-seekers with AUD. Objectives: The goal of this study is to provide a direct comparison between AUD treatment-seeking research participants and non-treatment-seeking participants on demographic and clinical variables and to test whether variables that differentiate the two groups are associated with clinical outcomes. Method: Non-treatment-seeking AUD participants (n = 213; 76.3% male) who completed behavioral pharmacology studies were compared to treatment-seekers who completed the COMBINE Study (n = 1383; 69.1% male) on demographic and clinical variables. Analyses examined whether the variables that differentiated the two groups predicted treatment outcomes in the COMBINE Study. Results: Analyses revealed that treatment-seeking participants were older, had more years of education, higher Alcohol Dependence Scale scores, higher Drinker Inventory of Consequences scores, higher Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale scores, a greater number of DSM-IV symptoms of AUD, longer duration of AUD, and consumed more standard drinks and more drinks per drinking day (i.e., in the past 30 days) compared to non-treatment-seeking participants. Nearly all characteristics that differed between the groups predicted at least one of the primary clinical outcomes of the COMBINE Study. Conclusions: This study highlights a host of clinical and demographic factors that differ between non-treatment-seeking and treatment-seeking research participants and the clinical significance of these variables. Differences between samples should be considered and addressed in order to promote greater consilience across stages of medication development.

Publisher URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00952990.2017.1312423

DOI: 10.1080/00952990.2017.1312423

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