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Joint Transnational Call For Networking Groups On Chronic Pain

Principal Investigator: Keith Smart

Project title: Optimising clinical trial methods for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS): a methodological framework initiative (OptiMeth-CRPS)

Project outline: Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a complex, multifactorial, persistent, painful and disabling condition that adversely impacts upon health-related quality of life. Population estimates indicate an incidence of somewhere between five and 26 cases per 100,000 person-years, as such CRPS is a rare condition.

Guidelines for the treatment of CRPS recommend an interdisciplinary multimodal approach comprising rehabilitative, psychological, educational, pharmacological and interventional pain management strategies. However determining the optimal approach to therapy remains challenging. Cochrane overviews and systematic review have highlighted weaknesses and uncertainties in the evidence base for interventions for CRPS. In the absence of any high quality evidence supporting many of the interventions deployed for CRPS, clinicians face making treatment decisions in an evidence vacuum.

There is an urgent need to consider and find solutions to the methodological and practical challenges of undertaking clinical trials and studies in a rarer chronic pain condition such as CRPS. By leveraging the combined expertise of a transnational collaboration of CRPS researchers, clinicians and rare disease methodologists (from Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Austria, the United States of America and Australia), the ‘OptiMeth-CRPS‘ Networking Group will address these methodological challenges and provide the necessary methodological framework with which to inform and guide the design and implementation of future clinical trials involving participants with CRPS. In doing so, we will aim to optimise and harmonise trial methods that enable clinical research teams to better fill the evidence void.

Centre for Translational Pain Research

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7777 | E: ctpr@ucd.ie