Utilizing Primary Care to Engage Patients on Opioids in a Psychological Intervention for Chronic Pain.

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Substance use & misuse


INTRODUCTION: Given the risks of opioids for pain management, we need nonpharmacological interventions that patients will engage in and that can reduce opioid use. The purpose was to examine whether offering a psychological intervention in primary care can engage patients receiving opioids for pain management and to explore whether the intervention influences opioid use.

METHODS: This was a secondary analysis of a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a 5-session psychological intervention in primary care for chronic pain. Patients with chronic pain (N = 220) were approached to enroll in the RCT. Electronic health records were reviewed to determine whether patients were prescribed opioids or pain medications at the time they were approached about the RCT and the 6-months following the intervention.

RESULTS: Enrollees and non-enrollees had similar rates of opioid prescriptions, morphine milligram equivalent dose of opioids, and rates of other pain medication prescriptions (p> .05). However, no males with an opioid prescription enrolled. Though not significant, those in the intervention had lower odds of having an opioid prescription 6 months following the intervention (p= .09, OR= .32). Those randomized to the intervention had lower odds of having a non-opioid pain medication prescription (p= .01, OR= .17).

CONCLUSIONS: Having an opioid prescription did not interfere with enrollment, suggesting that primary care may be useful for engaging patients on opioids in a psychological treatment for chronic pain. However, this may be true for women, and not men. This intervention also showed promise for decreasing opioid use and warrants further study.

Medical Subject Headings

Analgesics, Opioid; Chronic Pain; Female; Humans; Opioid-Related Disorders; Primary Health Care; Psychosocial Intervention

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