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Digital healthcare is everywhere these days, from virtual doctor appointments to text-based mental health support.

Now there’s a new digital therapy made for and with patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). While medications have proven effective in treating OUD, mental and behavioral support is a crucial part of the recovery process. Yet, a resource gap makes receiving ongoing care a challenge, especially for those in rural and underserved areas. Digital therapies can help fill this gap.

Opioid use disorder

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says OUD is “a problematic pattern of opioid use that causes significant impairment or distress.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid epidemic has worsened in the United States.  Fatal opioid overdoses reached more than 67,500 — a 36 percent increase — from December 1, 2019 to November 30, 2020. 

“The pandemic stripped people of so much, stability, their livelihoods, support systems, and routines, and put many at heightened risk of opioid misuse and overdose,” says Robert DeLuca, President of pharmaceutical company Orexo. “Compounding these issues were stay-at-home orders and a shortage of waivered physicians and qualified mental health professionals, which made it even more difficult to get treatment. We believe there is more that can and must be done.”

The company is committed to meeting unmet patient needs and eliminating mental illness.

Managing OUD

Medication assisted treatment (MAT) has long been the standard of care to manage OUD. When used effectively, MAT tackles both the physical withdrawal symptoms associated with early-stage recovery and the behavioral and mental issues associated with addiction.

Many patients with OUD do not, however, receive the behavioral support they need to achieve long-term recovery. Barriers to receiving care can include the stigma many associate with OUD, as well as logistical barriers like location, cost, and a lack of qualified providers.

Digital therapeutics — prescribed online programs that deliver medical interventions directly to patients — can eliminate some of those barriers.

“Many digital therapeutics, like Orexo’s deprexis® for depression and vorvida® for problematic alcohol use, use clinical cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based techniques and artificial intelligence to tailor information based on each user’s unique needs,” said DeLuca. “We kept hearing feedback that the same type of technology was needed to fill the gap for patients with OUD, so we created modia™.

Digital therapy

modia™ is a digital therapeutic rooted in an evidence-based, CBT treatment approach that’s designed to offer patients with OUD tailored, interactive digital psychotherapy to complement their clinician-supervised medication-assisted treatment program.

Patients with OUD were included in the development and initial product testing of modia™ in order to ensure that the tool meets the specific needs of those with OUD. The platform was also co-developed in partnership with leading global DTx company, GAIA.  

Over the course of 180 days, the proprietary software guides patients through 24 modules or “chats” and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create a simulated dialogue by tailoring content to the patient’s individual responses. Depending on what’s most effective for a patient, modia™ changes its tone of voice.

modia™ uses a broad range of evidence-based behavioral change techniques, such as mindfulness and motivational interviewing to help patients identify and address their personal triggers so they can develop healthy habits and create their own relapse prevention plan.  

Supporting patients

modia™ can be accessed on a mobile device or computer anytime and anywhere there’s internet access, which makes it easy for OUD patients to get care precisely when they need it.

Currently, a pivotal study is underway to evaluate modia™ in combination with sublingual buprenorphine/naloxone and their combined ability to stem illegal opioid drug use. The goal is to enroll an estimated 400 participants at 35 sites across the country. With modia™, OUD patients who previously struggled to access quality behavioral health support will have another option to aid their treatment journey – learn more at

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