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Papers: 12 Sep 2020 - 18 Sep 2020


Human Studies

2020 Sep

Am Psychol



Mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement reduces opioid dose in primary care by strengthening autonomic regulation during meditation.



The current opioid crisis was fueled by escalation of opioid dosing among patients with chronic pain. Yet, there are few evidence-based psychological interventions for opioid dose reduction among chronic pain patients treated with long-term opioid analgesics. Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE), which was designed to target mechanisms underpinning chronic pain and opioid misuse, has shown promising results in 2 randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and could facilitate opioid sparing and tapering by bolstering self-regulation. Here we tested this hypothesis with secondary analyses of data from a Stage 2 RCT. Chronic pain patients (N = 95) on long-term opioid therapy were randomized to 8 weeks of MORE or a support group (SG) control delivered in primary care. Opioid dose was assessed with the Timeline Followback through 3-month follow-up. Heart rate variability (HRV) during mindfulness meditation was quantified as an indicator of self-regulatory capacity. Participants in MORE evidenced a greater decrease in opioid dosing (a 32% decrease) by follow-up than did the SG, F(2, 129.77) = 5.35, p = .006, d = 1.07. MORE was associated with a significantly greater increase in HRV during meditation than was the SG. Meditation-induced change in HRV partially mediated the effect of MORE on opioid dose reduction (p = .034). MORE may boost self-regulatory strength via mindfulness and thereby facilitate self-control over opioid use, leading to opioid dose reduction in people with chronic pain. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).