New Therapy May Help Patients with Unexplained Pain and Fatigue

Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor
Published Online: Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Follow Pharmacy_Times:
A new type of therapy may help patients with symptoms such as pain, weakness, or dizziness that can’t be explained by an underlying disease, according to a study published in the July issue of Neurology. These symptoms, which can also include fatigue, tingling and numbness, are also known as functional or psychogenic symptoms.

“People with these symptoms make up one-third of all clinic visits, but the outcomes are poor,” said study author Michael Sharpe, MD, of the University of Edinburgh, in a statement.

Previous studies have shown that intense cognitive behavioral therapy can reduce symptoms, distress, and disability in people with these symptoms, but there are obstacles to providing this therapy. Many individuals do not feel psychological treatment is appropriate and resist referrals to mental health services, and therapists trained in cognitive behavioral therapy are not available in all communities.

Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to improve people’s physical symptoms, emotional state and functioning by helping them to understand, and where necessary change, how they think about and respond to their symptoms and life situation.

For the study, the researchers developed a self-help workbook based on the therapy for patients with physical symptoms. A total of 62 people were given the workbook; over a period of 3 months, they underwent up to 4 half-hour sessions guiding them in the use of the book with a nurse at their neurologist’s office in addition to their usual medical care. They were compared to 63 people who received only their usual medical care. Most of the participants also had psychiatric diagnoses, such as panic disorder, anxiety disorder and depression.

After 3 months, individuals who received the extra therapy were approximately twice as likely to report improvements in their overall health as those who did not receive the extra therapy. A total of 13% more people who received the extra therapy reported that their health was “better” or “much better” than those who received only their usual care.

After 6 months, there was no longer a significant difference in improvements in overall health between the two groups. However, those receiving the extra therapy continued to have greater improvement in their symptoms than those who received the usual care and also in their physical functioning. They were also more satisfied with their treatment.

“This study suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy-based guided self-help may be a new and potentially useful first step in improving the management of these challenging symptoms,” Dr. Sharpe said. “This approach needs further evaluation but can be a potentially effective and cost-effective first step toward providing more help for these often neglected patients.”

Related Articles
When California Health Sciences University was founded in 2012, the very first program offered was the College of Pharmacy due to high demand for pharmacists in the Central Valley area.
Pharmacies can anticipate new, specific goals that tie fee-for-service Medicare payments to value-based payment models, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
A common thread across all US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services programs is a shift of risk off of CMS and onto health care providers, according to Sam Stolpe, PharmD, senior director of Quality Strategies and Business Development at Pharmacy Quality Alliance.
As the quality measurement environment changes, pharmacists may shift their focus to new areas.
Latest Issues
  • photo
    Pharmacy Times
    photo
    Health-System Edition
    photo
    Directions in Pharmacy
    photo
    OTC Guide
    photo
    Generic Supplements
  • photo
    Pharmacy Careers
    photo
    Specialty Pharmacy Times
    photo
    Generic
$auto_registration$