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Management of Chronic Pain and PTSD in Gulf War Veterans With tDCS+Prolonged Exposure

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Know the risks and potential benefits of clinical studies and talk to your health care provider before participating. Read our disclaimer for details.
 
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04236284
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : January 22, 2020
Last Update Posted : November 4, 2020
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Melba Hernandez-Tejada, PhD, DHA, The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston

Brief Summary:

Gulf War Veterans (a DoD/VA defined service era corresponding to the first Gulf War under operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield 1990-1991), especially those who present with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), are particularly likely to experience chronic pain. Veterans with co-morbid chronic pain and PTSD utilize healthcare services at a higher rate than those with pain or PTSD alone. Unfortunately, there are no integrated treatments for Pain and PTSD. Moreover, non-pharmacological treatments for pain such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are useful in only about 50% of cases. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) may be an effective treatment for pain, and has been recently used to ameliorate PTSD symptoms. Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) is highly effective in treating PTSD symptoms. Therefore, we propose to (a) integrate & (b) gather feasibility data for home-based tDCS + PE for Pain and PTSD with 15 Gulf War Veterans.

The Overall Aim of the present proposal is to integrate, refine and investigate the feasibility (e.g., pilot testing, recruitment, attrition, assessment) of tDCS for treating chronic pain with a best practices evidence-based treatment for PTSD (i.e., Prolonged Exposure: PE) in 15 Gulf War veterans, a group for which both pain (fibromyalgia) and PTSD are particularly problematic.


Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Chronic Pain PTSD Device: Home-based tDCS Behavioral: Prolonged Exposure Therapy Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Chronic pain is one of the most prevalent health conditions among Americans, affecting about a third of the general population. In Gulf War (1990-1991) veterans, chronic pain is even more common, with a prevalence of about 50%. Indeed, the pain-related fibromyalgia diagnosis is part of Gulf War Syndrome and is highly comorbid with other common military service-related health problems such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Moreover, lack of effective, integrated, and available alternative treatments for chronic pain contributes to the opioid epidemic.

PTSD is also highly prevalent in Gulf War Veterans, at about 15-25% of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm Veterans. Moreover, several investigators note that PTSD treatment response is poorer for Veterans who experience chronic pain and for Veterans who served in the Gulf War.

The Overall Aim of the present proposal is to integrate, refine and investigate the feasibility (e.g., pilot testing, recruitment, attrition, assessment) of tDCS for treating chronic pain with a best practices evidence-based treatment for PTSD (i.e., Prolonged Exposure: PE) in 15 Gulf War veterans, a group for which both pain (fibromyalgia) and PTSD are particularly problematic.

SA1: Integrate the home-based tDCS+PE Treatment. The investigative team is comprised of Pain, PTSD, and salivary biomarker experts who will integrate tDCS into the 12 session PE treatment protocol.

H1: The 12 session PE protocol will yield itself well to tDCS component integration based on participant feedback.

SA2: Test the feasibility of both the integrated intervention and key study design features, including translational research features such as biomarker assessment in a non-randomized trial with 15 Gulf War Veterans assessed at baseline and post-treatment. Feasibility of the home-based tDCS+PE intervention will be measured in terms of recruitment metrics, assessment burden, successful biomarker collection, specification of biomarker relationship to hypothesized mechanisms of change, treatment attrition, rates of missing data at each measurement time point, participant satisfaction, and ratings of treatment face validity. Post treatment key informant interviews will be conducted where suggestions for treatment enhancement and satisfaction will be systematically collected and analyzed.

H2 is given in terms of Specific Pre-Defined Milestones for Success, including: 75% of Veterans experiencing chronic pain (fibromyalgia) and PTSD who enroll will complete at least 8 sessions of the integrated treatment, and both completers and dropouts will offer actionable suggestions in exit interviews for improving the delivery of the intervention. SA2) Feasibility metrics will be acceptable for recruitment rate (two per month), treatment completion of 8 sessions (75%), assessment completion (90%), and good to excellent satisfaction (95%)

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 30 participants
Allocation: N/A
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Management of Chronic Pain and PTSD in Gulf War Veterans With tDCS+Prolonged Exposure
Actual Study Start Date : January 15, 2020
Estimated Primary Completion Date : October 31, 2020
Estimated Study Completion Date : October 31, 2020

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Chronic Pain

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Home-based tDCS + Prolonged Exposure Therapy
Participants will come in person to the clinic office to complete the baseline visit and the in-person training for the use of both home-based self-administered tDCS and the home-based telehealth device (iPad) for the PE sessions. They understand that they will start the sessions of tDCS once they start the in vivo and imaginal exposures assignments at home. They will self-administer (under televideo supervision) the tDCS session before doing in vivo and/or imaginal exposures assignments. The participants will be remotely supervised by trained research staff at each stimulation to ensure the technique is correct and to monitor any adverse events. We will provide secure videoconferencing software (e.g., WebEx) and ensure the participants are comfortable using the telehealth software.
Device: Home-based tDCS
tDCS is a non-invasive neuromodulation technique that has been used to improved cognitive functions. It will be administered with a constant current intensity of 2 mA57 for 20 min per session/ 10 sessions total daily for 2 weeks (Monday to Friday). The device is a Soterix 1x1 tDCS mini-CT Stimulator (Soterix Medical Inc., NY) with headgear and 5 _ 7 cm saline-soaked surface sponge electrodes.
Other Name: Soterix 1x1 tDCS mini-CT Stimulator

Behavioral: Prolonged Exposure Therapy
Prolonged Exposure Therapy is a treatment for PTSD that includes the following components: a) psycho-education about the common reactions to traumatic events and presentation of the treatment rationale (sessions 1 and 2), b) repeated in vivo exposure to traumatic stimuli (in vivo exercises are assigned as homework during sessions 3 through 11), c) repeated, prolonged, imaginal exposure to traumatic memories (imaginal exposure is implemented during sessions 3 through 11; patients listen to session audiotapes for homework between sessions), and d) relapse prevention strategies and further treatment planning (session 12).




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Feasibility of recruitment as assessed by number of participants enrolled in the study [ Time Frame: Week 0 ]
  2. Feasibility of biomarker collection as assessed by number of planned saliva samples divided by number of planned saliva samples collected [ Time Frame: Week 12 ]
  3. Feasibility of biomarker viability as assessed by percent of viable saliva samples [ Time Frame: Week 12 ]
  4. Feasibility of retention as assessed by number of participants who complete at least 8 sessions [ Time Frame: Week 12 ]
  5. Feasibility of data collection as assessed by percent of missing data [ Time Frame: Week 12 ]
  6. Feasibility as indicated by satisfaction as assessed by the Charleston Psychiatric Outpatient Satisfaction Scale [ Time Frame: Week 12 ]
    The Charleston Psychiatric Outpatient Satisfaction Scale total score ranges from 13 to 65, with a higher score indicating higher satisfaction.

  7. Feasibility as indicated by treatment credibility as assessed by a credibility scale [ Time Frame: Week 12 ]
    Treatment credibility will be assessed by a scale, with a total score ranging from 0 to 10, with 0 being "not credible, I did not think this treatment would help either my PTSD or Pain symptoms" to 10 being "completely credible, I was very sure this treatment would help both my PTSD and Pain symptoms."

  8. Feasibility as indicated by treatment acceptability as assessed by an acceptability scale [ Time Frame: Week 12 ]
    Treatment acceptability will be assessed by a scale, with a total score ranging from 0 to 10, with 0 being "not acceptable, this treatment should not be offered to veterans, those in pain, or those with PTSD" to 10 being "completely acceptable, this treatment is perfectly suited to veterans and others with pain and PTSD symptoms."

  9. Pain interference as assessed by the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) pain 8a interference scale [ Time Frame: Week 0 ]
    PROMIS Pain interference 8a assesses self-reported consequences of pain on relevant aspects of one's life in the past 7 days. The measure includes 8-items rating pain from "Not at all" = 1 to "Very much" = 5, therefore the response range is 8-40 with higher scores indicating greater pain interference.

  10. Pain interference as assessed by the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) pain 8a interference scale [ Time Frame: Week 6 ]
    PROMIS Pain interference 8a assesses self-reported consequences of pain on relevant aspects of one's life in the past 7 days. The measure includes 8-items rating pain from "Not at all" = 1 to "Very much" = 5, therefore the response range is 8-40 with higher scores indicating greater pain interference.

  11. Pain interference as assessed by the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) pain 8a interference scale [ Time Frame: Week 12 ]
    PROMIS Pain interference 8a assesses self-reported consequences of pain on relevant aspects of one's life in the past 7 days. The measure includes 8-items rating pain from "Not at all" = 1 to "Very much" = 5, therefore the response range is 8-40 with higher scores indicating greater pain interference.

  12. Pain intensity as assessed by the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) pain 3a intensity scale [ Time Frame: Week 0 ]
    PROMIS Pain intensity 3a is a self-report measure that assesses how much a person hurts (intensity or severity) in the past 7 days. The measure includes three items rating pain from "Had no pain" = 1 to "Very severe" = 5, therefore the response range is 3-15 with higher scores indicating greater pain intensity. Item responses are combined to yield a T-score with population mean of 50 and standard deviation of 10.

  13. Pain intensity as assessed by the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) pain 3a intensity scale [ Time Frame: Week 6 ]
    PROMIS Pain intensity 3a is a self-report measure that assesses how much a person hurts (intensity or severity) in the past 7 days. The measure includes three items rating pain from "Had no pain" = 1 to "Very severe" = 5, therefore the response range is 3-15 with higher scores indicating greater pain intensity. Item responses are combined to yield a T-score with population mean of 50 and standard deviation of 10.

  14. Pain intensity as assessed by the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) pain 3a intensity scale [ Time Frame: Week 12 ]
    PROMIS Pain intensity 3a is a self-report measure that assesses how much a person hurts (intensity or severity) in the past 7 days. The measure includes three items rating pain from "Had no pain" = 1 to "Very severe" = 5, therefore the response range is 3-15 with higher scores indicating greater pain intensity. Item responses are combined to yield a T-score with population mean of 50 and standard deviation of 10.

  15. PTSD intensity as assessed by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale 5 (CAPS-5) [ Time Frame: Week 0 ]
    Total possible scores on the CAPS-5 scale range from 0 to 80, with a higher score indicating greater PTSD intensity.

  16. PTSD intensity as assessed by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale 5 (CAPS-5) [ Time Frame: Week 6 ]
    Total possible scores on the CAPS-5 scale range from 0 to 80, with a higher score indicating greater PTSD intensity.

  17. PTSD intensity as assessed by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale 5 (CAPS-5) [ Time Frame: Week 12 ]
    Total possible scores on the CAPS-5 scale range from 0 to 80, with a higher score indicating greater PTSD intensity.


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. PTSD as assessed by the PTSD Checklist-5 (PCL-5) [ Time Frame: Week 0, Week 6, Week 12 ]
    PCL-5 score ranges from 0 to 80, with a higher score indicating greater PTSD.

  2. Depression as assessed by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) [ Time Frame: Week 0, Week 6, Week 12 ]
    The PHQ-9 score ranges from 0 to 27, with a higher score indicating greater depression.

  3. Quality of Life as assessed by the World Health Organization Quality of Life - Short Form (WHOQOL-BREF) [ Time Frame: Week 0, Week 6, Week 12 ]
    The score on the WHOQOL-BREF ranges from 0 to 100, with a higher score indicating greater quality of life.

  4. Pain as assessed by the West Haven-Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory (WHYMPI/MPI) [ Time Frame: Week 0, Week 6, Week 12 ]
    There are 12 subscales of the West Haven-Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory (WHYMPI/MPI), each subscale ranging in score from 0 to 6, with a higher score indicating a greater degree of the domain assessed by the subscale.

  5. Kinesiophobia as assessed by the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia-Revised (TSK-R) [ Time Frame: Week 0, Week 6, Week 12 ]
    A score of 17 is the lowest possible score, and indicates no kinesiophobia (that is, fear of pain with movement) or negligible kinesiophobia. A score of 68 is the highest possible score and indicates extreme kinesiophobia.

  6. Pain Catastrophizing as assessed by the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) [ Time Frame: Week 0, Week 6, Week 12 ]
    Total scores ranges from 0 to 52, with a higher score indicating greater Pain Catastrophizing.

  7. Salivary Biomarker Measurement [ Time Frame: Week 0, Week 6, Week 12 ]
    Salivary levels of the biomarker panel (cortisol, substance P, DHEA, IL-1, and IL-6) using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA).



Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.


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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Presence of chronic non-cancer pain and pain interference, defined as scoring 1 standard deviation above PROMIS normative data on both the 3-item PROMIS Pain Intensity 3a scal and the 8-item PROMIS Pain 8a Interference scale. Symptoms will be required to be of six-month duration or longer
  • Diagnosis of PTSD assigned on the basis of the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Having a household member who is already enrolled in the study
  • Active psychosis or dementia at screening
  • Suicidal ideation with clear intent
  • Current substance dependence
  • current opioid medication for pain.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT04236284


Contacts
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Contact: Melba Hernandez Tejada, PhD, DHA 7134862729 Melba.A.HernandezTejada@uth.tmc.edu

Locations
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United States, Texas
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Recruiting
Houston, Texas, United States, 77030
Contact: Melba Hernandez Tejada, PhD,DHA    713-486-2729    Melba.A.HernandezTejada@uth.tmc.edu   
Sponsors and Collaborators
The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Melba Hernandez Tejada, PhD, DHA UTHealth at Houston
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Responsible Party: Melba Hernandez-Tejada, PhD, DHA, Associate Professor, The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04236284    
Other Study ID Numbers: HSC-MS-19-0960
First Posted: January 22, 2020    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: November 4, 2020
Last Verified: November 2020
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: Yes
Product Manufactured in and Exported from the U.S.: Yes
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Chronic Pain
Pain
Neurologic Manifestations