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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 May 2024 - 17 May 2024

2024 May 03



Editor's Pick

Methods for pragmatic randomized clinical trials of pain therapies: IMMPACT statement.


Hohenschurz-Schmidt D, Cherkin D, Rice ASC, Dworkin RH, Turk DC, McDermott MP, Bair MJ, DeBar LL, Edwards RR, Evans SR, Farrar JT, Kerns RD, Rowbotham MC, Wasan AD, Cowan P, Ferguson M, Freeman R, Gewandter JS, Gilron I, Grol-Prokopczyk H, Iyengar S, Kamp C, Karp BI, Kleykamp BA, Loeser JD, Mackey S, Malamut R, McNicol E, Patel KV, Schmader K, Simon L, Steiner DJ, Veasley C, Vollert J


Pragmatic, randomized, controlled trials hold the potential to directly inform clinical decision making and health policy regarding the treatment of people experiencing pain. Pragmatic trials are designed to replicate or are embedded within routine clinical care and are increasingly valued to bridge the gap between trial research and clinical practice, especially in multidimensional conditions, such as pain and in nonpharmacological intervention research. To maximize the potential of pragmatic trials in pain research, the careful consideration of each methodological decision is required. Trials aligned with routine practice pose several challenges, such as determining and enrolling appropriate study participants, deciding on the appropriate level of flexibility in treatment delivery, integrating information on concomitant treatments and adherence, and choosing comparator conditions and outcome measures. Ensuring data quality in real-world clinical settings is another challenging goal. Furthermore, current trials in the field would benefit from analysis methods that allow for a differentiated understanding of effects across patient subgroups and improved reporting of methods and context, which is required to assess the generalizability of findings. At the same time, a range of novel methodological approaches provide opportunities for enhanced efficiency and relevance of pragmatic trials to stakeholders and clinical decision making. In this study, best-practice considerations for these and other concerns in pragmatic trials of pain treatments are offered and a number of promising solutions discussed. The basis of these recommendations was an Initiative on Methods, Measurement, and Pain Assessment in Clinical Trials (IMMPACT) meeting organized by the Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks.