MUSE to Study Dangers of Long-term Opioid Use

Kaiser Permanente Southern California will participate in a study of risks associated with opioid use to learn why some people are more susceptible than others to being harmed by such drugs. 

The Medication Use, Safety, and Evidence project (MUSE) is one of the largest FDA-mandated opioid studies ever undertaken. MUSE will include a diverse population from health systems throughout the United States. As directed by an FDA mandate, study funding comes from pharmaceutical companies that manufacture extended-release/long-acting (ER/LA) opioids.

A 4-year, observational study, the MUSE project seeks to quantify the degree of risk associated with opioid use and better understand of why some people are more susceptible than others to be harmed by them. Researchers will measure the risk of misuse, abuse, and addiction associated with long-term use of ER/LA opioids for chronic pain, and will investigate related factors.

The project will comprise 2 parallel studies. The first is a prospective study to follow patients who have just started using ER/LA opioids. The second study will look at a cross section of patients who have taken ER/LA opioids for at least a year.

The study will look at age, sex, race/ethnicity, and type of medication. It will also examine stress and mental health conditions, genetics, behaviors such as alcohol and substance use, and reasons for prescriptions to assess if and how these factors influence patient outcomes.

The project is led by investigators at Group Health Research Institute and Kaiser Permanente Northwest. Other participating health care organizations of the Health Care Systems Research Network include Henry Ford Health System, Geisinger Health System, and Fallon Health/Meyers Primary Care Institute. Others include the Veterans Administration; New York City Research and Improvement Networking Group, sponsored by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Department of Family & Social Medicine; and Montefiore Medical Center/Clinical Directors Network and University of Florida, Gainesville, of the national Practice-Based Research Network.

Denise Boudreau, PhD, from Group Health Research Institute, and Bobbi Jo Yarborough, PsyD, of Kaiser Permanente Northwest are principal investigators on the MUSE project. Rulin Hechter, MD, PhD, is a co-investigator and site PI at KPSC.