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Information for the public

Improving the Wellbeing of People with Opioid Treated Chronic Pain

(PDF Document) I-WOTCH poster

The I-WOTCH study aims to improve the wellbeing of people living with chronic (long-term) pain and reduce their opioid (strong morphine-like painkillers) use.

People are chosen at random (by chance alone) to be in one of two treatment groups. This means that you cannot choose which group you are in. For the I-WOTCH study the two treatments are:

Group 1

Usual GP care plus

  • an information booklet about opioids
  • a relaxation CD
What is usual GP care plus an information booklet about opioids?

If you are in Group 1, we will send you an information booklet about opioids that explains pain, and the pros and cons of taking opioid painkillers. We will also send you a relaxation CD with instructions on how to use it. You will be asked to practice the relaxation techniques. You will continue to receive your usual GP care whilst taking part in the I-WOTCH study.

Questionnaires

We will ask everyone in both groups to fill in a weekly diary for the first four months of the study. The diary contains two short questions which will give us very important information about your quality of life and any withdrawal symptoms that you might get if you reduce your opioids. We will post these diaries out to you when we write to confirm which group you are in. You’ll get a freepost envelope to send the diaries back to us at the end of the four months.

We also ask everyone in both groups to complete three questionnaires about their everyday functioning, 4, 8 and 12 months after joining the study. A freepost envelope will be provided for their return.

Group 2

A support programme as well as the above. This includes:

  • a 3-day group course at a convenient local venue. This is led by a trained nurse and a trained person with experience of reducing their opioids prescribed for long-term pain
  • course handouts
  • two appointments a convenient local venue with the nurse to discuss slowly reducing their opioids
  • two follow-up phone calls
  • a Mindfulness CD
  • a DVD

If you choose to take part, we will ask you to let us tell your GP which group you are in.

What is the support programme?

If you are in Group 2, you will also receive the information booklet about opioids and relaxation CD plus your usual GP care.

As well as the above, we will invite you to attend a short course led by two tutors. The course runs over 3 days at a convenient local venue. During the course you will be encouraged to talk with others who take opioids for long-term pain and think about your own lifestyle, experiences and behaviours. One of the tutors will be a trained research nurse, the other will be a trained person who has chronic pain and has reduced their opioids. The course will include sessions about:

  • Understanding your pain
  • Coping techniques
  • Posture and movement advice
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Short and long term effects of opioids
  • The benefits of a slow, supervised reduction of painkillers
  • How to manage any withdrawal symptoms
  • Pain control after opioids

You will receive course handouts and a DVD about living well with long-term pain and slowly reducing opioid painkillers. You will also get a Mindfulness CD and instructions about how to use it.

As part of the support programme you will have two appointments at a convenient local venue and two telephone calls with the research nurse. In the first appointment, the research nurse will work with you to create a plan to help reduce your opioids slowly over time. Over the following weeks the research nurse will phone you twice to see how you are getting on with your reduction plan. You’ll also get another appointment with the nurse.

Questionnaires

We will ask everyone in both groups to fill in a weekly diary for the first four months of the study. The diary contains two short questions which will give us very important information about your quality of life and any withdrawal symptoms that you might get if you reduce your opioids. We will post these diaries out to you when we write to confirm which group you are in. You’ll get a freepost envelope to send the diaries back to us at the end of the four months.


We also ask everyone in both groups to complete three questionnaires about their everyday functioning, 4, 8 and 12 months after joining the study. A freepost envelope will be provided for their return.

How we use this information

The two groups of people are compared to find out any differences between treatments. The study will tell us which treatment is best at helping people to live better with their pain and reduce their opioids. We hope that the results of this study will help patients with chronic pain in the future.

Will my details be kept confidential?

All information that is collected during the study will be kept confidential at all times and held in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. All electronic data will be stored in a secure format. Any material that may identify who you are will be anonymised before there is any analysis of the data.

All information will be held in compliance with HSCIC data confidentiality and security arrangements and the Data Protection Act 1998.

Interested in taking part?

The I-WOTCH study is now closed to recruitment and is no longer taking on any new participants.

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Contact:

If you have any questions about the I-WOTCH study, please contact the study team who will be happy to answer them.


Tel: 02476 150 285
Email: IWOTCH at warwick dot ac dot uk


(PDF Document)I-WOTCH poster

(PDF Document) Patient Information Leaflet V1.3

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