Digital technology to support those with long-standing pain

Researchers based at the Kolling Institute have launched a clinical trial using digital health technology to help those with chronic pain reduce their use of opioids.

Chief investigator and leading pain specialist at Royal North Shore Hospital Professor Paul Glare said many people with chronic pain are using opioid medications long-term, but research shows that in many cases, these medications are doing more harm than good.

“We know that reducing the use of opioids not only minimises harm, but also leads to improvements in pain and quality of life,” he said.

Professor Glare said many people who have been on long term opioids for pain find reducing their dose a daunting prospect, and unfortunately, many of them don’t have much social support either.

As part of the clinical trial, participants will watch a video about pain and opioids and receive text messages, while their opioid medication dose is reduced under the supervision of the prescribing doctor.

“The aim of this study is to see if we can provide more support via their mobile phone to make tapering easier.

“The clinical trial follows a pilot study which showed that patients’ confidence to reduce their reliance on opioids improved when they received text messages.

“It also found their pain reduced, and their mood and functioning was better.

“We are now enrolling participants in a randomised control trial to test if the intervention leads to a greater reduction of their opioid dose.”

You can join the study from anywhere in Australia where you have access to a phone network and the internet.

If you would like to participate go to Support4Pain Study