Does substance use affect quality of life? Factors associated with quality of life in alcohol-dependent and alcohol- and cocaine-dependent patients

Cecile Denis

C. Denis, K. Kampman, H. Pettinati, C. O’Brien. Treatment Research Center, University of Pennsylvania, United States

Background: Quality of life (QoL) is being considered as an outcome measure in substance-related disorders studies. However, little is known about QoL and its change in alcohol- and cocaine-dependent patients. The aim of this study was to examine the association of specific substance dependence patterns on measures of QoL, its change over a 3-month treatment program, and its associated factors.

Methods: Data from two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were analyzed. One included alcohol-dependent patients (n=61); the second included alcohol- and cocaine-dependent patients (n=169). Both RCTs compared pharmacological treatment versus placebo. QoL was assessed by the SF-36 questionnaire. Other variables were collected through the Addiction Severity Index, Time Line Follow-Back, Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview, Penn Alcohol Craving Scale, and Minnesota Cocaine Craving Scale. Change in QoL was assessed by multivariate analysis of variance. Multivariate regression models were performed to identify the factors associated with QoL.

Results: The SF-36 physical component summary (PCS) was slightly affected. The SF-36 mental component summary (MCS) showed high impairment in all groups with higher impairment for alcohol-dependent patients. At 3 months, results showed an improvement of both PCS and MCS. MCS was still impaired, and there was no difference between alcohol-dependent and alcohol- plus cocaine-dependent patients. Substance use was not linked to QoL at baseline or 3 months nor to change of QoL. MCS was linked to psychiatric impairment and craving.

Conclusion: Dependent patients exhibited an impaired QoL. QoL was not linked to the number of substances on which dependent nor to substance use.

Financial support: Funding was received from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism R01 AA014657-01 and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.

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