Try our beta test site
IMPORTANT: Listing of a study on this site does not reflect endorsement by the National Institutes of Health. Talk with a trusted healthcare professional before volunteering for a study. Read more...

Pilot Study of Depot NTX in Homeless Veterans

This study has been terminated.
(Poor enrollment)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development Identifier:
First received: June 30, 2010
Last updated: June 16, 2014
Last verified: June 2014
Almost 200,000 veterans are homeless each night, about one-quarter to one-third of homeless adults in the U.S. Half need treatment for a substance use disorder, usually alcohol dependence, but sobriety is often required to access alcohol treatment and housing services. A monthly injection of depot naltrexone is efficacious in reducing alcohol use, but it is expensive and restricted in many VA Medical Centers. Oral naltrexone is more available but seldom used because of adherence problems that limit effectiveness. This open-label pilot study would compare the effect of depot versus oral naltrexone to help twenty homeless, alcohol-dependent veterans decrease their drinking, achieve sobriety and qualify for housing services. This study's findings could expand access to effective medication-assisted alcohol treatment in the VA, and thus help homeless veterans with alcohol problems improve their drinking, housing status, and appropriate use of health services.

Condition Intervention Phase
Alcohol Dependence
Drug: Depot naltrexone
Drug: Oral Naltrexone
Phase 4

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
Official Title: Pilot Study of Depot Naltrexone in Alcohol-Dependent, Homeless Veterans

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by VA Office of Research and Development:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Mean Weekly Self-reported Alcohol Consumption [ Time Frame: 24 weeks ]
    Mean number of standard drinks per week during the 24 week study. A standard drink is any drink that contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol, e.g. 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of spirits.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Treatment Participation [ Time Frame: 16 weeks ]
    Percentage of total during-treatment study visits attended. This serves as a proxy for the number of months of treatment participation

Enrollment: 7
Study Start Date: August 2010
Study Completion Date: June 2012
Primary Completion Date: July 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: XR-NTX
Depot naltrexone (Vivitrol) 380 mg. IM monthly
Drug: Depot naltrexone
Depot naltrexone 380 mg. IM monthly
Other Name: Vivitrol
Active Comparator: Oral Naltrexone
Naltrexone 50 mg tablet PO daily
Drug: Oral Naltrexone
Naltrexone 50 mg tablet PO daily
Other Name: Revia

Detailed Description:

Anticipated Impacts on Veteran's Healthcare. Ending homelessness among veterans is a major priority for VA. Veterans represent between one in four and one in three homeless adults. Almost 200,000 veterans are homeless each night. Rhode Island has the second highest per capita concentration of homeless persons in the United States and an estimated 2,000 homeless veterans. Half report unmet service needs related to substance use disorders. The VA is a major service provider to homeless persons and has developed innovative housing assistance programs. However, sobriety is required to access many housing services. Effective medication-assisted treatment for the alcohol-dependent, homeless population could improve their substance use, health care utilization and housing stability. If depot naltrexone is a useful tool for engaging alcohol-dependent, homeless veterans in effective treatment, a definitive study showing its effect would lead to fewer restrictions on depot naltrexone on the VA formulary, and expand access to effective medication-assisted treatment.

Project Background/Rationale. A dearth of residential long-term rehabilitation beds makes an initial period of sobriety necessary in order for homeless persons to access needed transitional sheltering in order to participate in outpatient alcohol treatment. Many alcohol-dependent homeless veterans find it difficult to achieve a period of sobriety. Clinical trials suggest that depot naltrexone is more efficacious than placebo in improving alcohol consumption among alcohol-dependent subjects, but depot naltrexone is expensive and has limited availability in many VA Medical Centers. Oral naltrexone is widely available but seldom used. This work seeks to examine the effect of depot versus oral naltrexone to help homeless alcohol dependent veterans.

Project Objectives. This open-label pilot study will compare the effect of 16-weeks of depot versus oral naltrexone among housing-seeking, alcohol dependent, homeless veterans. Outcomes will include alcohol consumption, housing stability, emergency department and hospital utilization, and substance abuse treatment participation. These preliminary data will evaluate the feasibility and effect size to allow the design of a larger, more definitive study of whether, compared to the oral naltrexone condition, the depot naltrexone group will experience: greater proportion of days abstinent and fewer drinks per drinking day; shorter time to achieve 30 days sobriety; more improvement in housing stability; fewer emergency department visits and hospitalizations and greater attendance at substance abuse treatment (number of visits attended).

Project Methods. Over 5 months, 20 homeless, alcohol dependent veterans will be recruited from the waiting lists for transitional or permanent housing at the Providence VA Medical Center. Using block randomization to stratify by current duration of abstinence (less than 7 days vs. 7 or more days) and sheltering (doubled-up/unsheltered/emergency vs. transitional sheltered), subjects will be assigned to either injection with depot naltrexone 380 mg. monthly or oral naltrexone 50 mg daily for 16 weeks. All will have medical visits with medication management counseling every 4 weeks with during the treatment period. Referrals will be made to needed services in keeping with standard practice. Research assessments at baseline and every 4 weeks through week 24 will assess alcohol consumption through self-report on calendar-based interviews, breathalyzer and liver enzyme testing. Primary outcomes will be alcohol consumption and time from randomization-to-30-day-sobriety. Secondary outcomes will include housing stability (across 5 ordered categories), emergency department and hospital utilization, and alcohol treatment participation from administrative data, CPRS abstracting and self-report.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 64 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Homeless per the federal definition (HEARTH Act, 2009), which includes individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and those who have a primary nighttime residence that is a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing); an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; and/or a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (including doubled up with a friend or family member).
  2. Meet criteria for a DSM-IV diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependence in the past year.
  3. Last reported drink between 12 hours and 12 months prior, and BAC by breathalyzer of .08 or less.
  4. Age between 18 and 64 years.
  5. Eligible to receive VA services.
  6. Willing to provide informed consent that will include all study procedures.
  7. Those who report any opiate use in the past month must pass a naloxone challenge test (no sign of opiate withdrawal after IM injection of 0.8 mg naloxone).
  8. If female of childbearing potential -- must be using adequate contraception.
  9. Cognitively intact and showing no signs of delusional thought processes on the Short Blessed test (Callahan, 2002) and SCID checklist. Those with an untreated SMI and/or not capable of understanding the study due to an active cognitive impairment or delusional thought process will be excluded.
  10. Speak English sufficiently to understand instructions and assessments.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Untreated disorder that might make participation hazardous (e.g. untreated psychosis or bipolar disorder with mania on SCID checklist or significant suicide risk on Modified Scale of Suicidal Ideation (MSSI).
  2. Use of contraindicated medications such as an opioid for a documented diagnosis or opiate maintenance.
  3. Chronic pain condition or expected procedure during the study that is likely to require opioid analgesia.
  4. Contraindicated medical conditions including pregnancy/lactation; liver failure or liver function test levels greater than three times normal; glaucoma; prior adverse reaction to naltrexone; life expectancy of less than 6 months or medical condition that will likely require skilled nursing facility care) within 6 months.
  5. Stated plan to leave the area within 6 months of enrollment.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01155869

United States, Rhode Island
VA Medical Center, Providence
Providence, Rhode Island, United States, 02908-4799
Sponsors and Collaborators
VA Office of Research and Development
Principal Investigator: Peter D Friedmann, MD MPH VA Medical Center, Providence
  More Information

Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT01155869     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: PPO 10-079
Study First Received: June 30, 2010
Results First Received: September 17, 2013
Last Updated: June 16, 2014

Keywords provided by VA Office of Research and Development:
alcohol dependence

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Alcohol-Related Disorders
Substance-Related Disorders
Chemically-Induced Disorders
Mental Disorders
Narcotic Antagonists
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Sensory System Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents processed this record on April 28, 2017