Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine
Annotated Abstracts of Journal Articles
Annotations by Elie Isenberg-Grzeda, MD and Sean Heffernan, MD
PUBLICATION #1 — Chronic Pain
Factors associated with suicidal ideation in patients with chronic non-cancer pain
Racine M, Sánchez-Rodríguez E, Gálan S, et al
Pain Med 2016 Jun 10 [Epub ahead of print]
The finding: The authors studied a large sample and identified both risk factors (male, longer pain duration, higher anger levels, helplessness, greater pain magnification, being more depressed) and protective factors (relationship, having a medical cure for pain) for suicidal ideation.
Strengths and weaknesses: Major limitation is the use of self-administered survey rather than clinical evaluation.
Relevance: As not all of these factors are the same as suicide risks in pain-independent settings, this is a valuable read which can help clinical care, specifically safety assessment.
PUBLICATION #2 — Chronic Pain
Efficacy of mirtazapine for the treatment of fibromyalgia without concomitant depression: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase IIa study in Japan
Miki K, Murakami M, Oka H, Onozawa K, Yoshida S, Osada K
Pain 2016 May 21 [Epub ahead of print]
The finding: Mirtazapine use in patients with pain and concomitant depression resulted in a statistically significant reduction in score on the numerical rating scale for pain when compared to placebo over a 12-week period.
Strengths and weaknesses: As the gold standard in intervention studies, the RCT study design reflects methodological rigor and presumes that bias was kept at a minimum. The study’s main weakness was that it used the numerical rating scale pain score, which may not be the most relevant measure in pain studies. To their credit, they did reinforce their findings by using quality of life measures.
Relevance: Unlike TCAs, SNRIs, and antiepileptics, mirtazapine is not necessarily a “go to” pain medication, and this study may support its use in the treatment of pain, which would add yet another tool in the armamentarium of those treating chronic pain and depression.
PUBLICATION #3 — Chronic Pain
Mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic low back pain: similar effects on mindfulness, catastrophizing, self-efficacy, and acceptance in a randomized controlled trial
Turner JA, Anderson ML, Balderson BH, Cook AJ, Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC
Pain 2016 May 31 [Epub ahead of print]
The finding: This study examined the relationships between several common targets of CBT for chronic pain (pain catastrophizing and self-efficacy) and mindfulness-based stress reduction for pain (mindfulness and acceptance). The study found key associations between these variables at baseline. They also reported that for most of the targeted areas, both mindfulness and CBT were more effective than usual care, and neither had large or clinically significant differences.
Strengths and weaknesses: The major strength of this study is that it followed a diverse group of patients over the course of a year.
Relevance: This provides evidence of efficacy for using either of two common psychotherapeutic treatments for chronic low back pain.
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