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Papers of the Week

2022 Mar 21

J Addict Dis

Physical activity and exercise interventions for individuals with opioid use disorder: a scoping review.



Exercise may be a valuable adjunct therapy for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) due to its known benefits in brain health, sleep, overall quality of life, and reduced anxiety and depression. Additionally, physical activity may mitigate the experience of pain, leading to better control of chronic pain. The purpose of this scoping review was to evaluate the evidence to support physical activity (which includes exercise) interventions for individuals with OUD. Systematic searches were conducted by a librarian in September 2021 in PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Web of Science, Cochrane CENTRAL, and clinicaltrials.gov. Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts to reduce risk of bias. A total of 13 studies met inclusion criteria. Ten publications presented data specifically studying a physical activity intervention for OUD. Three studies provided retrospective data on the exercise experience and attitudes. Results indicated different exercise modalities led to positive outcomes related to immune function, reduction of pain, cravings, anxiety and depression, as well as improvements in mood and quality of life. Additionally, participants noted exercise as an acceptable and feasible adjunct treatment. Exercise may be a valuable adjunct therapy for individuals with OUD; however, the majority of the published literature consisted of small samples presenting an opportunity for future investigators to corroborate findings with larger sample sizes, utilizing different exercise modalities in different populations of patients with OUD.