UAMS Researchers Design App to Prevent Opioid Relapse

UAMS Researchers Design App to Prevent Opioid Relapse

Three UAMS researchers have been recognized for designing a smartphone app to help reduce opioid cravings and optimize medication-assisted treatment among those with opioid use disorder.

A prototype of the app, known as OptiMAT (Optimizing Medication Assisted Treatment), was one of five winning entries in the 2022 National Institute on Drug Abuse “Product Prototypes to Combat Drug Craving” challenge. Researchers Andrew James, Ronald G. Thompson and Mary Bollinger earned an honorable mention and a $5,000 cash prize at the national contest.

OptiMAT’s features include self-monitoring of daily opioid use, opioid craving and mood; personalized feedback on goal attainment; charts generated to depict self-assessments over time; health information and abstinence-supporting resources; tips to manage craving and avoid opioid misuse; and a GPS-driven “just-in-time” intervention when entering predesignated geographical areas known to increase risk for opioid use.

“Tracking daily medication use, mood, cravings and withdrawal keeps people aware of and accountable for their behaviors and the personalized feedback on goal attainment reinforces sobriety and promotes engagement in medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder,” Thompson, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, said in a news release.

The research team is currently conducting a controlled trial to test the effectiveness of OptiMAT, funded by a $2.8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.