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Changes in pain and concurrent pain medication use following compounded topical analgesic treatment for chronic pain: 3- and 6-month follow-up results from the prospective, observational Optimizing Patient Experience and Response to Topical Analgesics study

Authors Gudin JA, Brennan MJ, Harris ED, Hurwitz PL, Dietze DT, Strader JD

Received 8 June 2017

Accepted for publication 30 August 2017

Published 3 October 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 2341—2354


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr E Alfonso Romero-Sandoval

Jeffrey A Gudin,1 Michael J Brennan,2 E Dennis Harris,3 Peter L Hurwitz,3 Derek T Dietze,4 James D Strader5

1Pain Medicine and Palliative Care, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Englewood, NJ, 2The Pain Center of Fairfield, Fairfield, CT, 3Clarity Science, Austin, TX, 4Metrics for Learning, LLC, Queen Creek, AZ, 5Safe Harbor Compliance and Clinical Services, LLC, Austin, TX, USA

Opioids and other controlled substances prescribed for chronic pain are associated with abuse, addiction, and death, prompting national initiatives to identify safe and effective pain management strategies including topical analgesics.
Methods: This prospective, observational study evaluated changes from baseline in overall mean severity and interference scores on the Brief Pain Inventory scale and the use of concurrent pain medications at 3- and 6-month follow-up assessments in chronic pain patients treated with topical analgesics. Changes in pain severity and interference and medication usage were compared between treated patients and unmatched and matched controls.
Results: The unmatched intervention group (unmatched-IG) included 631 patients who completed baseline and 3-month follow-up surveys (3-month unmatched-IG) and 158 who completed baseline and 6-month follow-up assessments (6-month unmatched-IG). Baseline and 3-month follow-up data were provided by 76 unmatched controls and 76 matched controls (3-month unmatched-CG and matched-CG), and 51 unmatched and 36 matched patients completed baseline and 6-month follow-up surveys (6-month unmatched-CG and matched-CG). Baseline demographic characteristics and mean pain severity and interference scores were similar between groups. There were statistically significant decreases from baseline in mean pain severity and interference scores within the 3- and 6-month unmatched-IG (all P<0.001). Significantly greater decreases in the mean change from baseline in pain severity and interference scores were evident for the 3- and 6-month unmatched-IG versus unmatched-CG (all P<0.001), with similar results when the 3- and 6-month matched-IG and matched-CG were compared. A higher percentage of the 3- and 6-month unmatched-IG and matched-IG de-escalated use of concurrent pain medications (all P<0.001), while significantly higher percentages of the unmatched-CG and matched-CG escalated medication use. Side effects were reported by <1% of the unmatched-IG.
Conclusion: Topical analgesics appear to be effective and safe for the treatment of chronic pain, with randomized controlled trials needed to confirm these findings.

Keywords: chronic pain, opioids, pain interference, pain severity, topical analgesics, OPERA

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