Primary Care Practice Interventions Helped Maintain Adherence to Opioid Prescription Guidelines

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jane M. Liebschutz, MD, MPH Associate Professor of Medicine Section of General Internal Medicine Boston University School of Medicine Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Liebschutz

Jane M. Liebschutz, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine
Section of General Internal Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston, Massachusetts

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The number of patients receiving opioids for chronic pain has risen over the past 2 decades in the US, in parallel with an increase in opioid use disorder. The CDC and professional medical societies have created clinical guidelines to improve the safety of opioid prescribing, yet individual prescribers can find them onerous to implement.

We developed an intervention to change clinical practice to support primary care physicians who prescribe the majority of opioids for chronic pain. The intervention included 4 elements- a nurse care manager to help assess, educate and monitor patients, an electronic registry to keep track of patient data and produce physician level reports, an individualized educational session for the physician by an opioid prescribing expert based on the physician-specific practice information and online resources to help with decision-making for opioid prescribing (www.mytopcare.org). We tested whether the intervention would improve adherence to guidelines, decrease opioid doses and decrease early refills, as a marker of potential prescription opioid misuse among 985 patients of 53 primary care clinicians in four primary care practices.

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JAMA Study Finds Radiofrequency For Treating Chronic Low Back Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Esther Maas, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Partnership for Work, Health and Safety School of Population and Public Health University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC 

Dr. Maas

Esther Maas, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Partnership for Work, Health and Safety
School of Population and Public Health
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Esther Maas, PhD Chronic low back pain causes more disability than any other condition, and has major social and economic consequences. Radiofrequency denervation is a commonly used treatment in pain clinics for a subgroup of patients with chronic low back pain resulting from anatomical structures such as facet joints, sacroiliac joint and intervertebral disc. Radiofrequency denervation uses an electric current that damages the innervating nerve of the painful structure. Despite its frequent application, until now, there was only very low quality and conflicting evidence for its effectiveness. The aim of this study was to establish whether radiofrequency denervation in addition to a standardized exercise program is more effective than the standardized exercise program alone in the selected subgroup of patients with chronic low back pain.

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Yoga As Effective As Physical Therapy For Chronic Low Back Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robert B. Saper, MD, MPH Department of Family Medicine Boston Medical Center Boston, MA

Dr. Saper

Robert B. Saper, MD, MPH
Department of Family Medicine
Boston Medical Center
Boston, MA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There are a number of studies that show that yoga is effective for chronic low back pain (cLBP), but those studies included mostly white and middle-class individuals as research participants. cLBP disproportionately impacts those who are economically disadvantaged and minorities; they receive less referrals to specialists, less referrals to rehabilitation, and also less patient-education. Therefore, it was important to test whether yoga would be well- received by an underserved population, as well as be an effective form of treating chronic low back pain.

This study consisted of patients from diverse racial and economic backgrounds with multiple medical problems who were able to successfully participate and benefit from both yoga and physical therapy. This study used yoga classes that were specifically designed for people suffering from  chronic low back pain and compared the results of that treatment to those who did physical therapy.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: The results show that the yoga was as effective as physical therapy for reducing pain intensity and improving people’s physical function. Patients in the study who did yoga reported that their overall pain intensity went down, that they were able to be more physically active, and a number of patients were also able to reduce or even stop all of their pain medication. The study shows that when yoga is made available and affordable to a diverse population, people of both sexes, people who are disabled, and people of different races and economic backgrounds are both receptive to yoga and, more importantly, can benefit from it.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Doctors should know that a structured yoga program for cLBP is a reasonable, effective, and safe approach for patients with chronic  chronic low back pain. Patients with cLBP should talk with their doctors about different options for treatment of back pain, starting with non-drug approaches like yoga and physical therapy. Policy makers need to examine the potential benefits for patients and cost savings for covering non-pharmacological approaches to pain.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The cost effectiveness of yoga and physical therapy for chronic low back pain still needs to be looked at carefully, as well as how the medical community can implement yoga classes for back pain widely.

While medication, imaging and invasive procedures absolutely have their place, research and clinical guidelines show that non-pharmacological procedures as first treatment options may be best.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Yoga is increasingly popular in the United States, and many yoga teachers are available in urban areas. However, yoga teachers and yoga classes are still relatively rare in communities of color and disadvantaged areas. Therefore, it’s important that we begin to train, build, and make yoga more available to diverse communities. Changing the common view of yoga from a fitness exercise for the healthy and wealthy, to a therapeutic approach for people with chronic pain and other conditions, is also an ongoing challenge.

Finding that yoga is non-inferior to physical therapy makes a strong case that yoga programs like the one in this study should be covered by insurance and offered by health care facilities. When a therapy like yoga is shown to be as effective as standard therapies, it should be made available to everyone regardless of ability to pay. For patients who attended more classes or physical therapy sessions, their cLBP improvement was even greater.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Saper RB, Lemaster C, Delitto A, Sherman KJ, Herman PM, Sadikova E, et al. Yoga, Physical Therapy, or Education for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Noninferiority Trial. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 20 June 2017] doi: 10.7326/M16-2579

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

 

 

 

SIMPONI ARIA (golimumab) Improved Sleep and Pain in Ankylosing Spondylitis Trial

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Atul A. Deodhar, MD, MRCP, FACP, FACR Professor of Medicine Medical Director, Rheumatology Clinics Medical Director, Immunology Infusion Center Oregon Health & Science University 

Dr. Deodhar

Atul A. Deodhar, MD, MRCP, FACP, FACR
Professor of Medicine
Medical Director, Rheumatology Clinics
Medical Director, Immunology Infusion Center
Oregon Health & Science University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The GO-ALIVE study (CNTO148AKS3001) is a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of golimumab, an anti-TNFα monoclonal antibody, administered intravenously (IV), in adult patients with active ankylosing spondylitis (AS). The primary objective is to evaluate the efficacy of golimumab 2 mg/kg in patients with active AS by assessing the reduction in signs and symptoms of AS. The secondary objectives include assessing efficacy related to improving physical function, range of motion, health-related quality of life, and other health outcomes.

A total of 208 patients who had a diagnosis of definite  ankylosing spondylitis (per modified New York criteria) and Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) ≥4, total back pain visual analogue scale (VAS) ≥4, and CRP ≥0.3 mg/dL were randomized.  Patients were treated with IV golimumab (n=105) at Weeks 0, 4, and every 8 weeks through Week 52 or placebo (n=103) at Weeks 0, 4, and 12, with crossover to IV golimumab at Week 16 and through Week 52.

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All NSAIDS Raise Risk of Heart Attack, Even When Taken For Short Period of Time

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michèle Bally, BPharm, MSc, PhD

Epidemiologist, Department of Pharmacy, CHUM
Researcher, Health Innovation and Evaluation Hub, CRCHUM

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The objective of this study was to better understand the risk of heart attack associated with using oral prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (ibuprofen, diclofenac, celecoxib, and naproxen) the way people usually do to treat pain and inflammation in real life circumstances.

In clinical trials, NSAIDs were typically taken on a continuous basis in high standardized doses, as assigned by the trial protocol. However, the dosages and the treatment durations studied in trials may not represent the reality of many patients who use NSAIDs in low or varying doses, use these drugs on and off, or switch between NSAID medications.

We were particularly interested in determining the onset of the risk, that is how soon does the risk of heart attack start increasing? Also, we wanted to investigate the effect of dose and duration of treatment. To do this, we studied the use of a low or high dose level of NSAIDs over certain set periods of time, including taking these medications only for 1 to 7 days.

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Post-Surgical Medications Are Major Cause Of New Chronic Opioid Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chad M. Brummett, M.D. Associate Professor Director, Clinical Anesthesia Research Director, Pain Research Department of Anesthesiology Division of Pain Medicine University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, MI  48109

Dr. Brummett

Chad M. Brummett, M.D.
Associate Professor
Director, Clinical Anesthesia Research
Director, Pain Research
Department of Anesthesiology
Division of Pain Medicine
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, MI  48109 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The opioid epidemic has received tremendous attention in recent years, but most of the focus has been on chronic pain, opioid abuse and overdose. Far less attention has been paid to the importance of acute care prescribing (e.g. surgical pain) in patients that are not chronic opioid users.

We found that 5-6% of patients not using opioids prior to surgery continued to fill prescriptions for opioids long after what would be considered normal surgical recovery. Moreover, the rates of new chronic use did not differ between patients having major and minor surgeries, suggesting that patients continue to use these pain medications for something other than simply pain from surgery. Building on other work by our group, and the few additional studies done on the topic to date, these data suggest that pain medications written for surgery are a major cause of new chronic opioid use for millions of Americans each year.

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Statins Users May Have Higher Likelihood of Back Disorders

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Una Makris MD, MSc Clinical Investigator at the VA North Texas Health System Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center Departments on Internal Medicine and Clinical Sciences

Dr. Makris

Una Makris MD, MSc
Clinical Investigator at the VA North Texas Health System
VA North Texas Health Care System
Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center
Departments on Internal Medicine and Clinical Sciences
Dr. Makris is a Rheumatologist, clinically, and spends the majority of time focused on clinical research investigating how to improve outcomes for adults with back pain.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Back pain is the most common type of musculoskeletal (MSK) pain. We know that expenditures for back pain exceed $100 billion each year (and this was in 2005). Back pain results in tremendous disability (including reduced mobility) and impaired quality of life (not exclusive to physical consequences, but also including important psychosocial repercussions). We also know that statins are prescribed very often, and frequently in younger populations who are active. Some reports suggest that statins may have a protective effect on  musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain.

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Modest Effect of Spinal Manipulation For Back Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Paul Shekelle, MD PhD MPH Chief of General internal Medicine VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

Dr. Shekelle

Paul Shekelle, MD PhD MPH
Chief of General internal Medicine
VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Back pain is one of the commonest symptoms for adult patients to seek health care. For a number of years now, VA has had chiropractic care integrated into the ambulatory care available at many large VA medical centers. Most patients referred from VA primary care to chiropractic clinic have chronic back pain. VA was interested in an evidence synthesis of the use of spinal manipulative therapy in acute low back pain. Spinal manipulative therapy is a manual technique delivered by almost all chiropractors, but also delivered by some physical therapists, osteopathic physicians, and some medical doctors.

The main findings are that spinal manipulative therapy is associated with, on average, a modest beneficial effect on pain and function. However, there are large difference sin outcome across studies, and this suggests that some patients may respond much better, and other may respond not at all.

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The Opioid Epidemic and Orthopaedic Pain Management

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Hammoud

Dr. Sommer Hammoud

Dr. Sommer Hammoud MD
ABOS Board Certified Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery
Thomas Jefferson University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The background for this exhibit stemmed from the growing problem of prescription opioid abuse in the United States.  As we saw this issue developing, we aimed to investigate the history behind this epidemic, what information we have now to fight it, and what information we need in the future to improve care our patients.

Our main findings for each of those aims are the following:

1) It would appear that a large push at the end of the last century led to a lower threshold to prescribe opiates in the effort to control pain, leading to the current opioid epidemic
2) Mulitmodal methods of pain control and the expanding skill of regional anesthesia can be used to help decrease narcotic use and thus limit exposure to narcotics, and
3) Future research needs to focus on the psychologic aspect of patients’ ability to manage pain and we should strive to be able to categorize patients in order to create an individualized pain management protocol which will most effectively manage pain.

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Long-Term Opioid Use Increases With Each Additional Day On Opioid Therapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anuj Shah (B.Pharm)

Doctoral Student
Division of Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The CDC guideline on opioid prescribing, published in March 2016, included recommendations for initiation of opioid therapy. The guideline noted that there is a lack of data describing how acute opioid use transitions to long-term opioid use. This report seeks to address this gap by determining characteristics of initial opioid prescribing prognostic of long-term use, among opioid naïve cancer-free adults.
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