HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Opioid Reduction and Risk Mitigation in VA Primary Care: Outcomes from the Integrated Pain Team Initiative.
Seal KH, Rife T, Li Y, Gibson C, Tighe J. Opioid Reduction and Risk Mitigation in VA Primary Care: Outcomes from the Integrated Pain Team Initiative. Journal of general internal medicine. 2020 Apr 1; 35(4):1238-1244.
National guidelines advise decreasing opioids for chronic pain, but there is no guidance on implementation.
To evaluate the effectiveness of an Integrated Pain Team (IPT) clinic in decreasing opioid dose and mitigating opioid risk.
This study prospectively compared two matched cohorts receiving chronic pain care through IPT (N = 147) versus usual primary care (UPC, N = 147) over 6 months. Patients were matched on age, sex, psychiatric diagnoses, and baseline opioid dose.
Veterans receiving care at a VA medical center or VA community-based clinics.
Interdisciplinary IPT, consisting of a collocated medical provider, psychologist, and pharmacist embedded in VA primary care providing short-term biopsychosocial management of veterans with chronic pain and problematic opioid use.
Change in opioid dose expressed as morphine equivalent daily dose (MEDD) and opioid risk mitigation evaluated at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months.
Compared with veterans receiving UPC, those followed by IPT had a greater mean MEDD decrease of 42 mg versus 8 mg after 3 months and 56 mg versus 17 mg after 6 months. In adjusted analysis, compared with UPC, veterans in IPT achieved a 34-mg greater mean reduction at 3 months (p = 0.002) and 38-mg greater mean reduction at 6 months (p = 0.003). Nearly twice as many patients receiving care through IPT versus UPC reduced their daily opioid dose by = 50%, representing more than a two-fold improvement at 3 months, which was sustained at 6 months [odds ratio = 2.03; 95% CI = 1.04-3.95, p = 0.04]. Significant improvements were also demonstrated in opioid risk mitigation by 6 months, including increased urine drug screen monitoring, naloxone kit distribution, and decreased co-prescription of opioids and benzodiazepines (all p values < 0.001).
Interdisciplinary biopsychosocial models of pain care can be embedded in primary care and lead to significant improvements in opioid dose and risk mitigation.