A substantial proportion of pregnant women use prescription opioids. However, the lack of efficacy of chronic prescription opioid use for pain, combined with an increased risk of these medications in general and during pregnancy, suggests that the risks of these medications may outweigh the benefits of continued use. Though research has not evaluated non-pharmacological approaches to treat chronic pain during pregnancy, research conducted with the general population outside of pregnancy suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective, non-pharmacological treatment. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of CBT for chronic pain paired with shared decision-making for prescription opioid dose reduction among pregnant women with prescription opioid misuse. The study was an open-label, 8-week clinical trial of CBT for chronic pain and shared decision-making for prescription opioid dose reduction. Participants included a clinical sample of 20 pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 45 years who were misusing opioids but did not meet DSM-IV criteria for an opioid use disorder or other substance use disorder. Compared to baseline, at 8 weeks, participants had significant reductions in average prescription opioid morphine equivalent dose, prescription opioid misuse, worst pain ratings, and pain interference in general activity and at work. They did not report improvement in other pain ratings or areas of functioning. This study provides valuable information regarding the preliminary efficacy of CBT for chronic pain paired with shared decision-making among pregnant women misusing prescription opioids. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02804152.© 2021. Society for Reproductive Investigation.
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Ayesha C Sujan