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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Telecare Approach Lowers Risk of Painkiller Addiction

New research suggests that counseling over the telephone could reduce dependence on prescription narcotics for dealing with chronic pain. A study of veterans who suffer from chronic pain showed that veterans who received tele-counseling reported a 30 percent improvement, according to HealthDay.

The study included 250 veterans with chronic pain, with half of the veterans being given traditional pain care from their primary physician and the other half receiving counseling from nurses over the telephone and internet, reports NBC Los Angeles.

Participants in the study who received telecare first met with a nurse in person one time and then received phone pain management counseling over the phone. Patients also received automated symptom monitoring to gauge pain levels. They also were given interactive voice-recorded phone calls and/or online messages which inquired about the patient's level of pain, reactions to the medications they were prescribed and whether they wanted to speak with a nurse.

“Nearly twice as many that had the telecare intervention got better in terms of their pain over the course of the year,” said study co-author Dr. Kurt Kroenke of the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. “On the other hand, twice as many people in the control, usual care group got worse during the course of the year.”

About one-quarter of the control group, those receiving usual care from a doctor, showed an improvement and only half of the control group was happy with the medication they were taking.

The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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