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Compensation effects on clinical trial data collection in opioid-dependent young adults.

BACKGROUND: Attrition in studies of substance use disorder treatment is problematic, potentially introducing bias into data analysis. OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to determine the effect of participant compensation amounts on rates of missing data and observed rates of drug use. METHODS: We performed a secondary analysis of a clinical trial of buprenorphine/naloxone among 152 treatment-seeking opioid-dependent subjects aged 15-21 during participation in a randomized trial. Subjects were randomized to a 2-week detoxification with buprenorphine/naloxone (DETOX; N = 78) or 12 weeks buprenorphine/naloxone (BUP; N = 74). Participants were compensated $5 for weekly urine drug screens and self-reported drug use information and $75 for more extensive assessments at weeks 4, 8, and 12. RESULTS: Though BUP assignment decreased the likelihood of missing data, there were significantly less missing data at 4, 8, and 12 weeks than other weeks, and the effect of compensation on the probability of urine screens being positive was more pronounced in DETOX subjects. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that variations in the amount of compensation for completing assessments can differentially affect outcome measurements, depending on treatment group assignment. SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE: Adequate financial compensation may minimize bias when treatment condition is associated with differential dropout and may be a cost-effective way to reduce attrition. Moreover, active users may be more likely than non-active users to drop out if compensation is inadequate, especially in control groups or in groups who are not receiving active treatment.

Pubmed ID: 21936751


  • Wilcox CE
  • Bogenschutz MP
  • Nakazawa M
  • Woody GE


The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse

Publication Data

January 22, 2012

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: KO5DA-17009
  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: U10 DA015833
  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: U10DA13043
  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: U10DA15833

Mesh Terms

  • Adolescent
  • Buprenorphine
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Naloxone
  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Opioid-Related Disorders
  • Patient Dropouts
  • Remuneration
  • Research Design
  • Research Subjects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult