- Remotely delivered psychological therapies for chronic pain and other conditions have limited evidence supporting their benefits, according to the results of this Cochrane review.
- The authors report possible benefit of reduced headache severity; for other outcomes, they found lack of evidence of effect or no benefit.
Why this matters
- This review updates a 2015 version with new studies but unchanged conclusions.
- Remote delivery of these interventions had been held as a promising way to reduce barriers to care.
- In a total of 10 studies assessing remote delivery of treatment for chronic pain (e.g., headache, abdominal pain), some biases were low risk, but performance and attrition biases were unclear.
- For headache, posttreatment severity was reduced (7 studies; n=379; very low-quality evidence):
- Risk ratio, 2.02 (95% CI, 1.35-3.01; P<.001>
- Number needed to treat to benefit: 5.36.
- No effect seen at follow-up, however.
- No effects seen for disability, depression, anxiety, mixed chronic pain conditions.
- Adverse events were limited and minor.
- Meta-analysis of 10 studies (4 since last publication), 697 participants.
- Outcomes at the end of treatment and follow-up of 3-12 months.
- Funding: NIH.
- Limitations are those of the included studies.