Web-Based Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Chronic Pain Patients with Aberrant Drug-Related Behavior: Outcomes from a Randomized Controlled Trial.
There is high unmet need for effective behavioral treatments for chronic pain patients at risk for or with demonstrated histories of opioid misuse. Despite growing evidence supporting technology-based delivery of self-management interventions for chronic pain, very few such programs target co-occurring chronic pain and aberrant drug-related behavior. This randomized controlled trial evaluated the effectiveness of a novel, web-based self-management intervention, grounded in cognitive behavior therapy, for chronic pain patients with aberrant drug-related behavior.Methods
Opioid-treated chronic pain patients at a specialty pain practice who screened positive for aberrant drug-related behavior (N = 110) were randomized to receive treatment as usual plus the web-based program or treatment as usual alone. The primary outcomes of pain severity, pain interference, and aberrant drug-related behavior, and the secondary outcomes of pain catastrophizing and pain-related emergency department visits, were assessed during the 12-week intervention and at one and three months postintervention.Results
Patients assigned to use the web-based program reported significantly greater reductions in aberrant drug-related behavior, pain catastrophizing, and pain-related emergency department visits-but not pain severity or pain interference-relative to those assigned to treatment as usual. The positive outcomes were observed during the 12-week intervention and for three months postintervention.Conclusions
A web-based self-management program, when delivered in conjunction with standard specialty pain treatment, was effective in reducing chronic pain patients' aberrant drug-related behavior, pain catastrophizing, and emergency department visits for pain. Technology-based self-management tools may be a promising therapeutic approach for the vulnerable group of chronic pain patients who have problems managing their opioid medication.