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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Prevention of Chronic Postsurgical Pain and Opioid Use in At-Risk Veterans: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Study.

Dindo L, Zimmerman MB, Hadlandsmyth K, StMarie B, Embree J, Marchman J, Tripp-Reimer T, Rakel B. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Prevention of Chronic Postsurgical Pain and Opioid Use in At-Risk Veterans: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Study. The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society. 2018 Oct 1; 19(10):1211-1221.

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High levels of pain, significant anxiety, or depressive symptoms before surgery put patients at elevated risk for chronic pain and prolonged opioid use following surgery. The purpose of this preliminary study was to assess the efficacy of a 1-day Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) workshop in "at-risk" veterans for the prevention of chronic pain and opioid use following orthopedic surgery. In a randomized controlled trial, 88 at-risk veterans undergoing orthopedic surgery were assigned to treatment as usual (TAU; n? = 44) or TAU plus a 1-day ACT workshop (n? = 44). Pain levels and opioid use were assessed up to 3 months following surgery. Pain acceptance and values-based behavior were assessed at baseline and 3-month follow-up. Participants who completed the ACT workshop reached pain and opioid cessation sooner than those in TAU. Postoperative complications exhibited a moderating effect on these outcomes, such that the effects of ACT were greater in patients without complications. Increases in pain acceptance and values-based behavior, processes targeted in ACT, were related to better outcomes. These promising results merit further investigation in a larger clinical trial. Providing an intervention before surgery for at-risk veterans has the potential to change clinical practice from a focus on management of postoperative pain to prevention of chronic pain in at-risk individuals. PERSPECTIVE: This pilot study compared the effects of a 1-day preventive behavioral intervention (ACT) to TAU in at-risk veterans undergoing orthopedic surgery. Three months following the intervention, veterans receiving ACT exhibited quicker cessation of pain and opioid use. Focusing on preoperative pain management may help prevent chronic postsurgical pain.

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