Classification and definition of misuse, abuse, and related events in clinical trials: ACTTION systematic review and recommendations

Shannon M. Smith, Richard C. Dart, Nathaniel P. Katz, Florence Paillard, Edgar H. Adams, Sandra D. Comer, Aldemar Degroot, Robert R. Edwards, J. David Haddox, Jerome H. Jaffe, Christopher M. Jones, Herbert D. Kleber, Ernest A. Kopecky, John D. Markman, Ivan D. Montoya, Charles O'Brien, Carl L. Roland, Marsha Stanton, Eric C. Strain, Gary VorsangerAjay D. Wasan, Roger D. Weiss, Dennis C. Turk, Robert H. Dworkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


As the nontherapeutic use of prescription medications escalates, serious associated consequences have also increased. This makes it essential to estimate misuse, abuse, and related events (MAREs) in the development and postmarketing adverse event surveillance and monitoring of prescription drugs accurately. However, classifications and definitions to describe prescription drug MAREs differ depending on the purpose of the classification system, may apply to single events or ongoing patterns of inappropriate use, and are not standardized or systematically employed, thereby complicating the ability to assess MARE occurrence adequately. In a systematic review of existing prescription drug MARE terminology and definitions from consensus efforts, review articles, and major institutions and agencies, MARE terms were often defined inconsistently or idiosyncratically, or had definitions that overlapped with other MARE terms. The Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trials, Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTTION) public-private partnership convened an expert panel to develop mutually exclusive and exhaustive consensus classifications and definitions of MAREs occurring in clinical trials of analgesic medications to increase accuracy and consistency in characterizing their occurrence and prevalence in clinical trials. The proposed ACTTION classifications and definitions are designed as a first step in a system to adjudicate MAREs that occur in analgesic clinical trials and postmarketing adverse event surveillance and monitoring, which can be used in conjunction with other methods of assessing a treatment's abuse potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2287-2296
Number of pages10
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Classification
  • Clinical trials
  • Prescription drug abuse
  • Prescription drug misuse
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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