Publications by authors named "Leela Kuriakose"

4 Publications

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Physical and Psychosocial Symptoms of Young Adult Patients Referred to the Supportive Care Mobile Team.

J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol 2022 Jul 26. Epub 2022 Jul 26.

Department of Palliative Care, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.

Young adult (YA) aged cancer patients have unique psychosocial needs with studies indicating more symptoms and emotional distress compared to older patients. Our study aimed to compare clinical characteristics and symptom distress between YAs and older adults. We retrospectively studied 896 randomly selected patients across 3 age groups: 18-39 YAs ( = 297), 40-64 ( = 300), and 65 and older ( = 299). We compared medical, psychosocial history, Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose (MEDD), Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) scores, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) scores at the time of initial inpatient consultation with supportive care. YAs were more frequently female and white, with higher ECOG scores, had more self-reported psychiatric history and worse ESAS sleep scores compared to the other age cohort groups. YAs had higher pain expression than those of 65 years and older. YAs were more likely to have children younger than 18 years old, which was associated with worse pain, sleep, and financial distress. In general, YAs did not report higher symptoms distress, with the exception of insomnia and self-reported psychiatric history. Importantly, YAs with children was associated with higher ratings of pain, sleep difficulties, and financial distress. Overall, results suggest YAs may benefit from specialized services to address their unique psychosocial needs.
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July 2022

Frequency of and Factors Associated With Nonmedical Opioid Use Behavior Among Patients With Cancer Receiving Opioids for Cancer Pain.

JAMA Oncol 2021 Mar;7(3):404-411

Department of Palliative Care, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

Importance: One of the main aims of research on nonmedical opioid use (NMOU) is to reduce the frequency of NMOU behaviors through interventions such as universal screening, reduced opioid exposure, and more intense follow-up of patients with elevated risk. The absence of data on the frequency of NMOU behavior is the major barrier to conducting research on NMOU.

Objective: To determine the overall frequency of and the independent predictors for NMOU behavior.

Design, Setting, And Participants: In this prognostic study, 3615 patients with cancer were referred to the supportive care center at MD Anderson Cancer Center from March 18, 2016, to June 6, 2018. Patients were eligible for inclusion if they had cancer and were taking opioids for cancer pain for at least 1 week. Patients were excluded if they had no follow-up within 3 months of initial consultation, did not complete the appropriate questionnaire, or did not have scheduled opioid treatments. After exclusion, a total of 1554 consecutive patients were assessed for NMOU behavior using established diagnostic criteria. All patients were assessed using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale, the Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain (SOAPP), and the Cut Down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye Opener-Adapted to Include Drugs (CAGE-AID) survey. Data were analyzed from January 6 to September 25, 2020.

Results: A total of 1554 patients (median [interquartile range (IQR)] age, 61 [IQR, 52-69] years; 816 women [52.5%]; 1124 White patients [72.3%]) were evaluable for the study, and 299 patients (19.2%) had 1 or more NMOU behaviors. The median (IQR) number of NMOU behaviors per patient was 1 (IQR, 1-3). A total of 576 of 745 NMOU behaviors (77%) occurred by the first 2 follow-up visits. The most frequent NMOU behavior was unscheduled clinic visits for inappropriate refills (218 of 745 [29%]). Eighty-eight of 299 patients (29.4%) scored 7 or higher on SOAPP, and 48 (16.6%) scored at least 2 out of 4 points on the CAGE-AID survey. Results from the multivariate model suggest that marital status (single, hazard ratio [HR], 1.58; 95% CI, 1.15-2.18; P = .005; divorced, HR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.01-2.03; P = .04), SOAPP score (positive vs negative, HR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.04-1.74; P = .02), morphine equivalent daily dose (MEDD) (HR, 1.003; 95% CI, 1.002-1.004; P < .001), and Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale pain level (HR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.06-1.16; P < .001) were independently associated with the presence of NMOU behavior. In recursive partition analysis, single marital status, MEDD greater than 50 mg, and SOAPP scores greater than 7 were associated with a higher risk (56%) for the presence of NMOU behavior.

Conclusions And Relevance: This prognostic study of patients with cancer taking opioids for cancer pain found that 19% of patients developed NMOU behavior within a median duration of 8 weeks after initial supportive care clinic consultation. Marital status (single or divorced), SOAPP score greater than 7, higher levels of pain severity, and MEDD level were independently associated with NMOU behavior. This information will assist clinicians and investigators designing clinical and research programs in this important field.
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March 2021

Predicting the risk for aberrant opioid use behavior in patients receiving outpatient supportive care consultation at a comprehensive cancer center.

Cancer 2018 10 7;124(19):3942-3949. Epub 2018 Sep 7.

Department of Palliative Care, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: Opioid misuse is a growing crisis. Patients with cancer who are at risk of aberrant drug behaviors are frequently underdiagnosed. The primary objective of this study was to determine the frequency and factors predicting a risk for aberrant opioid and drug use behaviors (ADB) among patients who received an outpatient supportive care consultation at a comprehensive cancer center. In addition, the screening performance of the Cut Down-Annoyed-Guilty-Eye Opener (CAGE) questionnaire adapted to include drug use (CAGE-AID) was compared with that of the 14-item Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients With Pain (SOAPP-14) tool as instruments for identifying patients at risk for ADB.

Methods: In total, 751 consecutive patients with cancer who were referred to a supportive care clinic were reviewed. Patients were eligible if they had diagnosis of cancer and had received opioids for pain for at least 1 week. All patients were assessed using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS), the SOAPP-14, and the CAGE-AID. SOAPP scores ≥7 (SOAPP-positive) were used to identify patients who were at risk of ADB.

Results: Among the 729 of 751 (97%) evaluable consults, 143 (19.6%) were SOAPP-positive, and 73 (10.5%) were CAGE-AID-positive. Multivariate analysis revealed that the odds ratio of a positive SOAPP score was 2.3 for patients who had positive CAGE-AID scores (P < .0001), 2.08 for men (P = .0013), 1.10 per point for ESAS pain (P = .014), 1.13 per point for ESAS anxiety (P = .0015), and 1.09 per point for ESAS financial distress (P = .012). A CAGE-AID cutoff score of 1 in 4 had 43.3% sensitivity and 90.93% specificity for screening patients with a high risk of ADB.

Conclusions: The current results indicate a high frequency of an elevated risk of ADB among patients with cancer. Men and patients who have anxiety, financial distress, and a prior history of alcoholism/illicit drug use are at increased risk of ADB.
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October 2018

Opioid Prescription Trends Among Patients With Cancer Referred to Outpatient Palliative Care Over a 6-Year Period.

J Oncol Pract 2017 12 13;13(12):e972-e981. Epub 2017 Oct 13.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston TX; and Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore.

Introduction: In the United States, opioid regulations have become increasingly stringent in recent years. Increased regulatory scrutiny, in part, is related to heightened awareness through literature and a recent media blitz on the opioid prescription epidemic. These regulations have the potential to impact prescription trends by health care providers. Our objective was to evaluate changes in the type and dose of opioid prescriptions among patients who are referred by oncologists to an outpatient palliative care clinic.

Materials And Methods: We reviewed the electronic health records of 750 patients who were seen as new consultations at MD Anderson Cancer Center's outpatient palliative care clinic between January 1 and April 30 each year from 2010 through 2015. Data collected included demographics, cancer type and stage, symptom assessment, performance status, opioid type, and opioid dose defined as the morphine equivalent daily dose (MEDD).

Results: Median age was 59 years (interquartile range [IQR], 51 to 67), 383 (51%) were female, 529 (70%) were white, and 654 (87%)of patients had advanced cancer. In 2010, median MEDD before referral was 78 mg/d (IQR, 30 to 150); however, by 2015, the MEDD had progressively decreased to 40 mg/d (IQR, 19 to 80; P = .001). Hydrocodone was the most common opioid prescribed between 2010 and 2015; however, after its reclassification as a schedule II opioid in October 2014, the use of tramadol, a schedule IV opioid, increased ( P < .001).

Conclusion: During the past several years, the MEDD prescribed by referring oncologists has decreased. After hydrocodone reclassification, the use of tramadol with less stringent prescription limits has increased.
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December 2017