Leveraging policy to reduce chronic opioid use by educating and empowering community dwelling adults: a study protocol for the TAPERING randomized controlled trial

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Turner, Justin P
Caetano, Patricia
Tannenbaum, Cara
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Abstract Background Opioid use has risen to epidemic proportions across Canada, with increasing evidence of harms including accidental overdose and death. Policy-makers have called for effective approaches to promote opioid reduction. One promising method from deprescribing randomized trials is to empower patients through direct-to-patient education. The current trial will evaluate the effectiveness of a government-led mail-out of educational information to adult community-dwelling, chronic opioid users on the reduction of opioids compared to usual care. Methods This is a pragmatic, prospective, cluster randomized, parallel-arm controlled trial, comparing mailed distribution of a direct-to-patient educational brochure for chronic opioid use (intervention arm) to usual care (control arm). Eligible participants from across Manitoba, Canada, will be identified by the Provincial Drug Programs Branch within the Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living Department of the Manitoba Government, allocated to primary care providers, and the latter will be randomized in clusters of family medicine practices to achieve a 1:1 ratio. The primary outcome is complete cessation of opioids after 6 months assessed using Drug Program Information Network data. Secondary outcomes include ≥ 25% dose reduction in the mean morphine milligram equivalent (MME) daily dose, reduction of daily dose to < 90 mg MME, or therapeutic switch to another opioid or non-opioid medication. Data will be analyzed using intent-to-treat generalized estimating equations. Discussion This trial will test the efficacy of a population-based, wide-scale, government-led direct-to-patient educational initiative to drive reductions in chronic opioid use by community-dwelling adults across Manitoba. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT03400384 . Registered on 18 January 2018.
Trials. 2019 Jul 09;20(1):412