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Papers: 18 Mar 2023 - 24 Mar 2023


2023 Mar 22



Editor's Pick

Research objectives and general considerations for pragmatic clinical trials of pain treatments: IMMPACT statement.


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


Many questions regarding the clinical management of people experiencing pain and related health policy decision-making may best be answered by pragmatic controlled trials. To generate clinically relevant and widely applicable findings, such trials aim to reproduce elements of routine clinical care or are embedded within clinical workflows. In contrast with traditional efficacy trials, pragmatic trials are intended to address a broader set of external validity questions critical for stakeholders (clinicians, healthcare leaders, policymakers, insurers, and patients) in considering the adoption and use of evidence-based treatments in daily clinical care. This article summarizes methodological considerations for pragmatic trials, mainly concerning methods of fundamental importance to the internal validity of trials. The relationship between these methods and common pragmatic trials methods and goals is considered, recognizing that the resulting trial designs are highly dependent on the specific research question under investigation. The basis of this statement was an Initiative on Methods, Measurement, and Pain Assessment in Clinical Trials (IMMPACT) systematic review of methods and a consensus meeting. The meeting was organized by the Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTTION) public-private partnership. The consensus process was informed by expert presentations, panel and consensus discussions, and a preparatory systematic review. In the context of pragmatic trials of pain treatments, we present fundamental considerations for the planning phase of pragmatic trials, including the specification of trial objectives, the selection of adequate designs, and methods to enhance internal validity while maintaining the ability to answer pragmatic research questions.