BMJ. 2022 Apr 4;377:e066375. doi: 10.1136/bmj-2021-066375.
OBJECTIVE: To review interventions to reduce long term opioid treatment in people with chronic non-cancer pain, considering efficacy on dose reduction and discontinuation, pain, function, quality of life, withdrawal symptoms, substance use, and adverse events.
DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials and non-randomised studies of interventions.
DATA SOURCES: Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library searched from inception to July 2021. Reference lists and previous reviews were also searched and experts were contacted.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR STUDY SELECTION: Original research in English. Case reports and cross sectional studies were excluded.
DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Two authors independently selected studies, extracted data, and used the Cochrane risk-of-bias tools for randomised and non-randomised studies (RoB 2 and ROBINS-I). Authors grouped interventions into five categories (pain self-management, complementary and alternative medicine, pharmacological and biomedical devices and interventions, opioid replacement treatment, and deprescription methods), estimated pooled effects using random effects meta-analytical models, and appraised the certainty of evidence using GRADE (grading of recommendations, assessment, development, and evaluation).
RESULTS: Of 166 studies meeting inclusion criteria, 130 (78%) were considered at critical risk of bias and were excluded from the evidence synthesis. Of the 36 included studies, few had comparable treatment arms and sample sizes were generally small. Consequently, the certainty of the evidence was low or very low for more than 90% (41/44) of GRADE outcomes, including for all non-opioid patient outcomes. Despite these limitations, evidence of moderate certainty indicated that interventions to support prescribers’ adherence to guidelines increased the likelihood of patients discontinuing opioid treatment (adjusted odds ratio 1.5, 95% confidence interval 1.0 to 2.1), and that these prescriber interventions as well as pain self-management programmes reduced opioid dose more than controls (intervention v control, mean difference -6.8 mg (standard error 1.6) daily oral morphine equivalent, P<0.001; pain programme v control, -14.31 mg daily oral morphine equivalent, 95% confidence interval -21.57 to -7.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Evidence on the reduction of long term opioid treatment for chronic pain continues to be constrained by poor study methodology. Of particular concern is the lack of evidence relating to possible harms. Agreed standards for designing and reporting studies on the reduction of opioid treatment are urgently needed.
REVIEW REGISTRATION: PROSPERO CRD42020140943.
Source: ncbi 2