Oct 26, 2017: Can a Kit predict Potential for Opiate Addiction?

A new spin on opiate addiction. ds

PAINWeek celebrated their 11th conference in Las Vegas at the beginning of September. This conference allows pain providers to get together and discuss the best practice and new options for pain patients. I had the great opportunity to attend this year as the itinerary offered educational sessions on the opioid crisis, ketamine as an adjuvant for pain, as well as an informational naloxone course where providers were encouraged to co-prescribe it with all their opioid prescriptions.

The FDA has approved a new product called LifeKit® Predict created by Prescient Medicine. This product was aggressively marketed at PAINWeek during the exposition portion of the conference. Their slogan proudly states “Stop Opioid Addiction Before It Starts” and they claim it “can identify—with 88% specificity—that someone may have an increased risk for opioid dependency.” The company compared matched controls with 37 opioid (prescription or heroin) addicted patients, and compared 16 of their genetic alleles that affect pleasure pathways within the brain.  They use these 16 genetic alleles to predict opioid addiction, but unfortunately the science just isn’t sound. This product, while interesting, cannot predict who will and will not be addicted to opioids. Addiction is multi-faceted. It includes social history, family and financial stressors, and medication history. The likelihood is that other pleasurable behaviors can trigger similar if not the same pleasure pathway in the brain, including activities like eating chocolate and having sex. The methods and results of this product’s testing are just too weak to be able to make these claims. Addiction should not be manipulated into a profitable disease. One of the representative’s main selling points when I spoke with him at the exposition was “hospitals are going to make so much money with this product…” 

The publication of bad science leads to bad patient care. The risk for insurance companies and healthcare facilities to misuse and misinterpret this test is high. Prevention, education, and treatment are key to this epidemic. 

Read more for yourself here: http://www.prescientmedicine.com/testpanels/lifekit-predict
Question prepared by Nena Bowman, PharmD, DABAT, Managing Director for the Tennessee Poison Center

I am interested in any questions you would like answered in the Question of the Week.  Please email me with any suggestion at donna.seger@vanderbilt.edu

Donna Seger, MD
Medical Director
Tennessee Poison Center
Poison Help Hotline: 1-800-222-1222