E-Health Self-Management Chronic Pain Program Beneficial

Doctor showing tablet to patient.
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Increase in proportion of patients achieving 15% or greater reduction in daily morphine equivalent dose.

HealthDay News — For adults on long-term opioid therapy (LOT) for chronic pain, use of a 4-month subscription to the online Goalistics Chronic Pain Management Program (E-Health) is beneficial compared with treatment as usual (TAU), according to a study published in the April issue of PAIN.

Marian Wilson, PhD, from the College of Nursing at Washington State University in Spokane, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving 402 adults with mixed chronic pain conditions from primary care and pain clinics of 2 US academic health care systems. Participants received LOT-prescriber-provided treatment of morphine equivalent dose (MED) 20mg or greater while receiving either E-Health or TAU (200 and 202 participants, respectively).

The researchers found that 53.6 and 42.3% of E-Health and TAU participants, respectively, achieved a 15% or greater reduction in daily MED (odds ratio, 1.6), with a number needed to treat of 8.9. Overall, 14.5 and 6.8% of E-Health and TAU participants, respectively, achieved a 2-point reduction or greater in pain intensity. There were also benefits in pain knowledge, pain self-efficacy, and pain coping.

“These were very encouraging findings: not only were they reducing opioids but also their pain was not becoming worse,” Wilson said in a statement. “Some people are hesitant to stop their opioid medication because they fear their pain will increase, but we found that at least on average in this population, they could reduce their opioids a bit and not have increased pain symptoms.”

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