Reduce Opioid Abuse, Preserve Access

New Study Will Assess Strategies for Rational Opioid Engagement

A new study, led by RTI International, will examine fresh strategies that may be effective in addressing the crisis of opioid misuse while preserving access to opioids for chronic pain patients who benefit from their use. Lead researcher Lauren McCormack, PhD, vice president of the Public Health Research Division at RTI, commented, “This project will help patients better understand the risks, benefits, and uncertainties associated with opioid use, which is needed for informed consent and is critical given the status of the opioid epidemic.” A shortage of high-quality evidence for the safety and effectiveness of long-term opioid therapy for chronic non-cancer pain management has frequently been cited in the ongoing debate, alongside concern for preserving access to this modality for patients in pain. RTI will collaborate with participants from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Duke University Health System, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Over 1,000 patients from North Carolina and Tennessee will be enrolled in the study, in which 2 interventions will be compared to assess opioid dosage, physical functioning, and pain outcomes. The first intervention is a shared decision-making approach, involving a close collaboration between patients and clinicians on the risks and benefits of treatment options. The second will engage motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy to impact patients’ motivation for behavior change and engage positive thoughts and emotions to help manage pain. The work will be funded through a grant from PCORI, and independent, Congressionally-authorized nonprofit organization charged with funding research to provide evidence-based information for decision making by all stakeholders in healthcare delivery.

Read a press release from RTI International about the study, with link to further information.

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