Mindfulness Intervention Cuts Opioid Misuse, Chronic Pain

Additional benefits include reductions in opioid dosing, emotional distress, and opioid craving

THURSDAY, March 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A mindfulness intervention can lead to greater sustained improvements in opioid misuse and chronic pain symptoms than supportive group psychotherapy, according to a study published online Feb. 28 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Eric L. Garland, Ph.D., from University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues evaluated the efficacy of Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) for the reduction of opioid misuse and chronic pain. The analysis included 129 individuals randomly assigned to the MORE group and 121 to the supportive psychotherapy group.

The researchers found that the odds for reduction in opioid misuse during the nine-month follow-up period were greater in the MORE group versus the supportive psychotherapy group (odds ratio, 2.06). At nine months, 45 percent of participants in the MORE group were no longer misusing opioids versus 24.4 percent in the supportive psychotherapy group. MORE was superior to supportive psychotherapy for pain severity and pain-related functional interference. Further, individuals in the MORE group reduced their opioid dose to a greater extent and had lower emotional distress and opioid craving than those in the supportive psychotherapy group.

“Despite attrition caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the vulnerability of the sample, MORE appeared to be efficacious for reducing opioid misuse among adults with chronic pain,” the authors write.

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