Research Article: Comment on the case for considering quality of life in addiction research and clinical practice

Date Published: March 15, 2012

Publisher: BioMed Central

Author(s): Robert G Newman.


Partial Text

In making the case for considering quality-of-life outcomes in the treatment of addiction (Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, July 2011 [1]), Dr. Alexandre Laudet argues that “reduced substance abuse is not in itself an adequate criterion for recovery [p. 49].” In this respect, however, management of drug dependence is no different than the almost universal approach to assessing care of all other chronic medical conditions. For example, in treating patients with diabetes or hypertension, the overwhelming (usually exclusive) focus is on the maintenance of blood sugar and blood pressure levels; in the treatment of epilepsy, efficacy is a function of the elimination or reduction in frequency of seizures. It is difficult to argue with Dr. Laudet’s view that it would be appropriate and useful to ask substance abuse patients, “Overall, how satisfied are you with your life?”, but how often is this question posed by clinicians treating other chronic medical ailments?

Dr. Newman raises interesting points that are frequently mentioned when quality of life is discussed in the context of substance use disorders (SUDs). Thank you for the opportunity to offer some clarifications.

aEditor’s note: Quality of life is relevant to pharmacotherapies in that the Food and Drug Administration requires evidence of patient reported outcomes, including quality of life, to support labeling claims [3].