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Patient Perceptions About Opioid Risk Communications Within the Context of a Randomized Clinical Trial.

Dolan AR, Goldberg EB, Cannuscio CC, Abrams MP, Feuerstein-Simon R, Luna Marti X, Mazique J, Schapira MM, Meisel ZF. Patient Perceptions About Opioid Risk Communications Within the Context of a Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Network Open. 2022 Aug 1; 5(8):e2227650.

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Importance: Opioid overdose rates continue to increase, and extant literature suggests that many individuals who use heroin were first introduced to opioids through a medical prescription. Objective: To explore patient experiences related to decisions regarding analgesia after an emergency department visit within the context of a randomized clinical trial aimed to test the efficacy of risk communication interventions on treatment preference, risk recall, and use of opioids. Design, Setting, and Participants: This qualitative study of 36 patients making decisions regarding analgesia included qualitative interviews with participants in 2 risk intervention groups. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and edited to remove identifying information to protect the confidentiality of participants. Interviews were conducted from June 4, 2019, to August 6, 2019. We conducted thematic analysis from August to December 2019 using a mixed inductive and deductive approach. Participants received $20 in compensation. The study was conducted in 4 geographically diverse emergency departments in the United States. Participants were adults presenting to the emergency department with either musculoskeletal back or neck pain or kidney stone-related pain. Eligibility criteria included being aged 18 to 70 years, capable of providing informed consent, English speaking or having English comprehension, eligible for emergency department discharge within 24 hours of enrollment, and able to access email or a smartphone. Interventions: Participants enrolled from the main randomized clinical trial received 1 of 2 risk interventions: a probabilistic opioid risk tool or a narrative-enhanced probabilistic risk tool (ie, participants viewed eight 1- to 3-minute short videos of patients discussing their experiences with pain treatment and positive and negative experiences with opioid use). Main Outcomes and Measures: Factors reported by participants to have influenced their decision-making regarding acute pain and treatment. Results: Thirty-six participants were interviewed, 18 in the group who received the probabilistic risk tool alone and 18 in the group who received the additional narrative-enhanced probabilistic risk tool intervention. The median age was 38 years (range, 21-67 years), 22 individuals were female (61%), 14 were Black or African American (39%), and 14 were White (39%). Five themes emerged from the analysis in the following domains: the factors associated with the risk interventions; clinician paternalism; analgesia attributes and previous experiences; individual self-identity, attitudes, and values; and perceptions of clinician bias. Conclusions and Relevance: Most participants commented on the powerful lessons they learned from the risk interventions. More research is needed to understand how patients incorporate risk information into their decision-making process.

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