Improving the Effectiveness of Clinical Trials for Chronic Pain Sufferers


Clinical research gives us the best possible information about how best to treat individual patients.

What Research Is Appropriate for Evidence-Based Medicine?

Evidence-based medicine requires published, peer-reviewed research that doctors of treatment plans can evaluate and verify. Ideally, the authors of the research should support their findings with randomized clinical trials. Trials generally provide ample evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the treatment methods suggested. However, any study can provide useful information if its method and supporting evidence are sound.

Effective Clinical Trials for Chronic Pain Sufferers

A typical clinical trial randomly assigns participants to treatment and control groups. However, we have found that a clinical trial can determine the effectiveness of a chronic pain treatment with far fewer participants involved if everyone involved in the study receives both the control treatment and the experimental treatment. This type of clinical trial is a crossover trial.

One of the problems with clinical trials for chronic pain sufferers is the fact that pain levels are subjective. People experience and report pain differently. You can eliminate the variable nature of pain as a factor affecting the trial by giving all participants both treatments. With proper statistical analysis, the trial should produce a reliable result.

Some of the factors that can influence perception and reporting of pain include:

Endorphins: A higher level of endorphins in the system can increase the patient’s tolerance of pain
Mental state: Hunger, fatigue, stress and fear can all alter a patient’s mental state and contributeto altered perception of pain
Personal factolerance
Other factors and age can influence a patient’s perception of pain

Improving the Analysis of Crossover Trial Results for Chronic Pain Sufferers

Although a crossover trial design has the potential to analyze the statistics gathered in a way that produces a reliable result.

We believe that learning how to create larger reports compiling the results from several crossover trials. With larger sample sizes, the information collected becomes much more reliable. However, the trial data can only improve patient treatment plans with adequate assessment of the data from the initial trials.