Objective: According to the CDC, 2.6 million people in the United States have an opioid use disorder and drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death. Opioids are involved in 63% of overdose deaths. It is imperative that we identify evidence based treatments to stem the tide of this epidemic. This pilot study serves to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of Yoga as an adjunctive intervention for individuals with opioid use disorder in active medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Methods: Participants (N=26) were recruited from a buprenorphine/naloxone MAT program to participate in this study. 13 participants engaged in a 12 week adjunctive yoga intervention while remaining in treatment as usual (TAU) MAT. 13 matched controls were recruited and remained in TAU MAT. Both groups were evaluated at baseline, 45 days and 90 days for changes in craving for opioids, treatment retention, relapse rates, sleep, and symptoms of anxiety and perceived stress.
Results: A two-way treatment by time analysis of variance was performed using a mixed effects model. The treatment by follow-up time interaction effect was significant for perceived stress (p=0.026) indicating that the yoga intervention had a larger effect than TAU (MAT). Changes in perceived stress decreased significantly over time in both the yoga intervention group and the TAU MAT matched control group.
Conclusion: This pilot study indicated strong evidence for Yoga being an effective adjunctive treatment to MAT TAU in reducing perceived stress. Further research with a larger population is needed to determine impact on other mental health symptoms and relapse and retention rates.
Keywords: Buprenorphine/naloxone; Opioid use disorder; Perceived stress; Relapse rates; Retention rates; Substance use disorder; Yoga; medication-assisted treatment.