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Study Overview

The I-WOTCH research study (randomised controlled trial) aimed to develop a support programme to improve the everyday functioning for people living with chronic (long-term) non-cancer pain and to reduce their opioid (strong morphine-like painkillers) use.

Over 600 adults living in the UK took part in the trial between 2017 and 2021. Each person was randomly assigned to one of two treatments groups:

  • Group 1: existing GP care, plus a self-help booklet and relaxation CD
  • Group 2: the same as Group 1, plus participation in an intervention programme specially developed by the study team

The intervention programme included sessions on coping techniques, stress management, goal setting, mindfulness, posture and movement advice, how to manage any withdrawal symptoms and pain control after opioids.

The trial measured the everyday functioning and opioid use of participants at different time points.

Key Study Findings

  • After 12 months, 29 % of people who took part in the I-WOTCH intervention programme had significantly reduced their opioid use, compared with 7% of people who followed their usual care.
  • There was no difference between the two groups in terms of their pain, or how pain interfered with their lives.
  • See 'Summary & Results' for more details..

Chief Investigator: Professor Harbinder Sandhu, University of Warwick

Co-Chief Investigator: Professor Sam Eldabe, The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough

Sponsor: University of Warwick

ISRCTN: 49470934

Funded by NIHR

The I-WOTCH study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment (project number 14/224/04).