Recently Published Projects

Published on October 11, 2021
Prevention, Diagnosis, and Management of Opioids, Opioid Misuse, and Opioid Use Disorder in Older Adults
57 Studies • 3 Key Questions • 57 Extraction Forms
Project created on October 08, 2021
Last updated on October 12, 2021
Objectives: Background. Opioid-related harms are increasing among older adults. Until we better understand the factors contributing to this trend, we will be unable to design and implement effective interventions to optimally manage opioid use and its potential harms among older adults. Although considerable research has been done in younger or mixed-age populations, the degree to which it is directly applicable to older adults is uncertain. Objectives. To provide a framework for understanding how to reduce adverse outcomes of opioid use among older adults, and to describe the evidence available for different factors associated with and interventions to reduce adverse outcomes related to opioid use in this population. Approach. With input from a diverse panel of content experts and other stakeholders, we developed a conceptual framework and evidence map to characterize empirical studies of factors associated with opioid-related outcomes and interventions to reduce opioid-related harms in older adults. We identified relevant literature among older adults (age ≥60 years) for an evidence map by systematically searching PubMed, PsycINFO, and CINAHL for studies published in English between 2000 and May 6, 2020. Findings. We identified 5,933 citations, from which we identified 41 studies with multivariable models of factors associated with opioid-related outcomes and 16 studies of interventions in older adults. More than half (22/41) of the multivariable analysis studies evaluated factors associated with long-term opioid use (which, though not a harm per se, may increase the risk of harms if not appropriately managed). Prior or early postoperative opioid use, or greater amounts of prescribed opioids (high number of opioid prescriptions or higher opioid dose), were consistently (100% agreement) and strongly (measure of association ≥2.0) associated with long- term opioid use. Back pain, depression, concomitant use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and fibromyalgia also had consistent, but weaker, associations with long-term opioid use. Several factors were mostly associated (>75% agreement) with long-term opioid use, including benzodiazepine use, comorbidity scores, (generally undefined) substance misuse, tobacco use, and low income. However, studies were mostly consistent that alcohol abuse and healthcare utilization were not associated with long-term opioid use. Gender, age among older adults, Black race, dementia, rural/nonurban residence, prescription of long-acting opioids, unmarried status, and use of muscle relaxants were variably associated (<75% agreement) with long-term opioid use. Six studies examined factors associated with opioid-related disorders, although only one study evaluated factors associated with opioid use disorder. Alcohol misuse and gender were variably associated with opioid misuse (examined by three studies each). All other evaluations of specific pairs of associated factors and outcomes of interest were evaluated by only one or two studies each. These included analyses of factors associated with multiple opioid prescribers, mental health outcomes, physical health outcomes, all-cause hospitalization, opioid-related hospitalization, nonopioid-specific hospitalization, emergency department visits, opioid overdose, all-cause death, opioid-related death, and nonopioid-related death. The evidence on interventions directed at older adults is sparse. Of the 16 studies of opioid- related interventions in older adults, six examined screening tools to predict opioid-related harms, but none of these tools was tested in clinical practice to assess real-world results. Two studies found that prescription drug monitoring programs are associated with less opioid use in communities. Other studied interventions include multidisciplinary pain education for patients, an educational pamphlet for patients, implementation of an opioid safety initiative, provision of patient information and pain management training for clinicians, a bundle of educational modalities for clinicians, free prescription acetaminophen, a nationally mandated tamper- resistant opioid formulation, and motivational interview training for nursing students. Few intervention studies evaluated pain or other patient-centered outcomes such as disability and functioning. Conclusions. The evidence base that is directly applicable to older adults who are prescribed opioids or have opioid-related disorders is limited. Fundamental research is necessary to determine which factors may predict clinically important, patient-centered, opioid-related outcomes. Studies to date have identified numerous possible factors associated with long-term opioid use (whether appropriate or not), but analyses of other opioid-related outcomes in older adults are relatively sparse. Research is also needed to identify interventions to reduce opioid prescribing where harms outweigh benefits (including screening tools), reduce opioid-related harms and disorders, and treat existing misuse or opioid use disorder among older adults.
Published on October 06, 2021
Interventional Treatments for Acute and Chronic Pain: Systematic Review
37 Studies • 1 Key Questions • 37 Extraction Forms
Project created on June 29, 2021
Last updated on November 22, 2021
Objectives: Structured Abstract Objective. To evaluate the benefits and harms of selected interventional procedures for acute and chronic pain that are not currently covered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) but are relevant for and have potential utility for use in the Medicare population, or covered by CMS but for which there is important uncertainty or controversy regarding use. Data sources. Electronic databases (Ovid® MEDLINE®, PsycINFO®, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews) to April 12, 2021, reference lists, and submissions in response to a Federal Register notice. Review methods. Using predefined criteria and dual review, we selected randomized controlled trials (RCTs) for 10 interventional procedures and conditions that evaluated pain, function, health status, quality of life, medication use, and harms. Random effects meta-analysis was conducted for vertebral compression fracture; otherwise outcomes were synthesized qualitatively. Effects were classified as small, moderate, or large using previously defined criteria. Results. Thirty-seven randomized trials (in 48 publications) were included. Vertebroplasty (13 trials) is probably more effective at reducing pain and improving function in older (>65 years of age) patients, but benefits are small (less than one point on a 10 point pain scale). Benefits appear smaller (but still present) in sham-controlled (5 trials) compared with usual care controlled trials (8 trials) and larger in trials of patients with more acute symptoms; however, testing for subgroup effects was limited by imprecision. Vertebroplasty is probably not associated with increased risk of incident vertebral fracture (10 trials). Kyphoplasty (2 trials) is probably more effective than usual care for pain and function in older patients with vertebral compression fracture at up to 1 month (moderate to large benefits) and may be more effective at >1 month to ≥1 year (small to moderate benefits), but has not been compared against sham therapy. Evidence on kyphoplasty and risk of incident fracture was conflicting. In younger (below age for Medicare eligibility) populations, cooled radiofrequency denervation for sacroiliac pain (2 trials) is probably more effective for pain and function versus sham at 1 and 3 months (moderate to large benefits). Cooled radiofrequency for presumed facet joint pain may be similarly effective versus conventional radiofrequency, occipital nerve stimulation for headache may be more effective than usual care for disability and headache days and piriformis injection with corticosteroid for piriformis syndrome may be more effective than sham injection for pain. For the other interventional procedures and conditions addressed, evidence was too limited to determine benefits and harms. Conclusions. Vertebroplasty is probably effective at reducing pain and improving function in older patients with vertebral compression fractures; benefits are small but similar to other therapies recommended for pain. Evidence was too limited to separate effects of control type and symptom acuity on effectiveness of vertebroplasty. Kyphoplasty has not been compared against sham, but is probably more effective than usual care for vertebral compression fractures in older patients. In younger populations, cooled radiofrequency denervation is probably more effective than sham for sacroiliac pain. Research is needed to determine the benefits and harms of the other interventional procedures and conditions addressed in this review.
Published on October 06, 2021
Radiation Therapy for Brain Metastases
97 Studies • 4 Key Questions • 97 Extraction Forms
Project created on April 22, 2021
Last updated on October 06, 2021
Objectives: Objective. This evidence report synthesizes the available evidence on radiation therapy for brain metastases. Data sources. We searched PubMed®, Embase®, Web of Science, Scopus, CINAHL®,, and published guidelines in July 2020; assessed independently submitted data; consulted with experts; and contacted authors. Review methods. The protocol was informed by Key Informants. The systematic review was supported by a Technical Expert Panel and is registered in PROSPERO (CRD42020168260). Two reviewers independently screened citations; data were abstracted by one reviewer and checked by an experienced reviewer. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and large observational studies (for safety assessments), evaluating whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) alone or in combination, as initial or postoperative treatment, with or without systemic therapy for adults with brain metastases due to non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, or melanoma. Results. In total, 97 studies, reported in 190 publications, were identified, but the number of analyses was limited due to different intervention and comparator combinations as well as insufficient reporting of outcome data. Risk of bias varied; 25 trials were terminated early, predominantly due to poor accrual. Most studies evaluated WBRT, alone or in combination with SRS, as initial treatment; 10 RCTs reported on post-surgical interventions. The combination treatment SRS plus WBRT compared to SRS alone or WBRT alone showed no statistically significant difference in overall survival (hazard ratio [HR], 1.09; confidence interval [CI], 0.69 to 1.73; 4 RCTs; low strength of evidence [SoE]) or death due to brain metastases (relative risk [RR], 0.93; CI, 0.48 to 1.81; 3 RCTs; low SoE). Radiation therapy after surgery did not improve overall survival compared with surgery alone (HR, 0.98; CI, 0.76 to 1.26; 5 RCTs; moderate SoE). Data for quality of life, functional status, and cognitive effects were insufficient to determine effects of WBRT, SRS, or post-surgical interventions. We did not find systematic differences across interventions in serious adverse events radiation necrosis, fatigue, or seizures (all low or moderate SoE). WBRT plus systemic therapy (RR, 1.44; CI, 1.03 to 2.00; 14 studies; moderate SoE) was associated with increased risks for vomiting compared to WBRT alone. Conclusion. Despite the substantial research literature on radiation therapy, comparative effectiveness information is limited. There is a need for more data on patient-relevant outcomes such as quality of life, functional status, and cognitive effects.
Published on October 06, 2021
Disparities and Barriers to Pediatric Cancer Survivorship Care
110 Studies • 5 Key Questions • 110 Extraction Forms
Project created on January 04, 2021
Last updated on October 06, 2021
Objectives: Objectives. Survival rates for pediatric cancer have dramatically increased since the 1970s and the population of childhood cancer survivors (CCS) exceed 500,000 in the US. Cancer during childhood and related treatments lead to long-term health problems, many of which are poorly understood. These problems can be amplified by suboptimal survivorship care. This report provides an overview of the existing evidence and forthcoming research relevant to disparities and barriers for pediatric cancer survivorship care, outlines pending questions, and offers guidance for future research. Data Sources. This technical brief reviews published peer-reviewed literature, grey literature, and key informant interviews to answer five guiding questions regarding disparities in the care of pediatric survivors, barriers to cancer survivorship care, proposed strategies, evaluated interventions, and future directions. Review Methods. We searched research databases, research registries, and published reviews for ongoing and published studies in CCS to October 2020. We used the authors’ definition of CCS; where not specified, CCS included those diagnosed with any cancer prior to age 21. The grey literature search included relevant professional and non-profit organizational websites and guideline clearing houses. Key informants provided content expertise regarding published and ongoing research, and recommended approaches to fill identified gaps. Results. In total, 110 studies met inclusion criteria. We identified 26 studies that assessed disparities in survivorship care for CCS. Key informants discussed subgroups of CCS by race or ethnicity, sex, socioeconomic status, and insurance coverage that may experience disparities in survivorship care and these groups that experience disparities were supported in the published literature. Key informants indicated that major barriers to care are providers (e.g., insufficient knowledge), the health system (e.g., availability of services), and payers (e.g., network adequacy); we identified 47 studies that assessed a large range of barriers to survivorship care. Sixteen organizations have outlined strategies to address pediatric survivorship care. Our searches identified only 27 published studies that evaluated interventions to alleviate disparities and reduce barriers to care. These predominantly assessed approaches that targeted patients. We found only eight ongoing studies that evaluated strategies to address disparities and barriers. Conclusions. While research has addressed disparities and barriers to survivorship care for childhood cancer survivors, evidence-based interventions to address these disparities and barriers to care are sparse. Additional research is also needed to examine less frequently studied disparities and barriers and to evaluate ameliorative strategies in order to improve the survivorship care for CCS.
Published on October 05, 2021
Blood Gas Analysis: Point of Care Testing (POCT) vs Central Laboratory
8 Studies • 5 Key Questions • 7 Extraction Forms
Project created on March 16, 2021
Last updated on October 05, 2021
Objectives: Background: A comparison of blood gas analysis by point of care testing (POCT) compared to central laboratory testing in terms of turnaround time and cost has not been thoroughly reported. Purpose: To summarize studies comparing result turnaround times between POC blood gas analysis and central laboratory analysis for hospitalized patients. Data Sources: PubMed, Cochrane Central register of Controlled trials, Medline Ovid, and Web of Science were searched for reports from randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials. Study Selection: Abstracts were screened to identify reports from trials comparing bedside/point-of-care blood gas analysis and blood gas analysis by central laboratory with adult participants; at least 10 participants per group; <20% drop out rate; and outcomes of turnaround times and/or cost. Data Extraction: Reviewers extracted data on study design, methods, sample characteristics, interventions, comparators, and outcomes.