The following is a summary of the “Perspectives on Participation in Clinical Trials Among Individuals With Pain, Depression, and/or Anxiety: An ACTTION Scoping Review,” published in the January 2023 issue of Pain management by Ferguson, et al.

Clinical studies may be influenced by present and past care, illness severity, physical functionality, financial stress, and carer support for pain patients. Depression and anxiety may exacerbate these issues. This scoping study examined clinical trial participation, recruitment, and retention among people with pain and pain comorbidities such as depression and anxiety. 

They searched PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Cochrane CENTRAL. Study demographics, viewpoints, challenges, and motives were described. In this scoping review, 24 assessments focused on pain (24/35, 68.6%), 9 on depression and/or anxiety (9/35, 25.7%), and 2 on pain and co-occurring depression/anxiety (2/35, 5.7%). Barriers for pain and depression patients were researched team communication, the concern of interventional hazards, distrust (only among pain patients), too many procedures, worry of insufficient therapy, disease-life stressors, and embarrassment with study procedures (more commonly reported in participants with depression). 

Altruism, supportive staff, better care access, and outcome feedback facilitated both groups (more commonly among individuals with depression). However, pain and sadness impair trial recruitment and retention. Involving pain patients in research planning may help address these hurdles and the needs of those with pain and depression. This review emphasizes the necessity of addressing clinical trial hurdles and facilitators, particularly the views of underserved or marginalized communities.