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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Jun 2023 - 23 Jun 2023


Human Studies


2023 Jun 22

Clin Trials


Chronic pain trials often exclude people with comorbid depressive symptoms: A secondary analysis of 346 randomized controlled trials.


Cheng DK, Ullah MH, Gage H, Moineddin R, Sud A


Chronic pain and depression are common comorbid conditions, but there is limited evidence-based guidance for management of the two conditions together. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of chronic pain randomized controlled trials that collect depression outcomes, but it is unknown how often these trials include people with depression or significant depressive symptoms. If trials do not include participants representative of real-world populations, evidence and guidance generated from these trials risk being inapplicable for large proportions of the target population, or worse, risk harm. Thus, in order to identify pathways to improve the conduct of clinical trials, the aims of this study were to (1) estimate the proportion of randomized controlled trials evaluating chronic pain interventions and reporting depression outcomes that include participants with significant depressive symptoms; and (2) assess the variability of inclusion proportions by pain type, intervention type, gender, country of origin, and publication year.