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Management of Patients With Respiratory Symptoms in Sweden

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02728674
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : April 5, 2016
Last Update Posted : August 24, 2017
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Magnus Ekström, Skane University Hospital

Tracking Information
First Submitted Date  ICMJE March 24, 2016
First Posted Date  ICMJE April 5, 2016
Last Update Posted Date August 24, 2017
Actual Study Start Date  ICMJE September 2016
Actual Primary Completion Date May 2017   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Current Primary Outcome Measures  ICMJE
 (submitted: April 4, 2016)
COPD treatment in the Questionnaire [ Time Frame: through study completion, up to 6 months ]
Would there be a difference between the hypothetical case with breathlessness compared to the otherwise identical case with pain instead of breathlessness regarding:
  1. Proportion of study participants that consider that the patient in the case is not optimally treated;
  2. Proportion of study participants that consider morphine as either primary or secondary treatment option
Original Primary Outcome Measures  ICMJE Same as current
Change History
Current Secondary Outcome Measures  ICMJE
 (submitted: April 4, 2016)
  • Gender bias in COPD diagnosis in the Questionnaire [ Time Frame: through study completion, up to 6 months ]
    Would there be a difference between the cases with a male respective female patient regarding:
    • Proportion of study participants that consider COPD diagnosis;
    • Proportion of study participants that consider spirometry for further diagnostics
  • Symptomatic treatment in the Questionnaire [ Time Frame: through study completion, up to 6 months ]
    Would there be a difference between the case with breathlessness compared with the case with pain regarding:
    • Chosen treatment options;
    • Reasons not to choose treatment with opioids Chosen treatment options Reasons not to choose treatment with opioids
Original Secondary Outcome Measures  ICMJE Same as current
Current Other Pre-specified Outcome Measures
 (submitted: April 4, 2016)
  • Non-randomized measurements in the Questionnaire [ Time Frame: through study completion, up to 6 months ]
    Proportion of study participants that consider the described breathlessness to be refractory
  • Chosen evidence-grades as non-randomized measurements in the Questionnaire [ Time Frame: through study completion, up to 6 months ]
    Chosen evidence-grades for treatment options of refractory breathlessness
  • Chosen potential risks as non-randomized measurements in the Questionnaire [ Time Frame: through study completion, up to 6 months ]
    Chosen potential risks with opioid treatment
Original Other Pre-specified Outcome Measures Same as current
 
Descriptive Information
Brief Title  ICMJE Management of Patients With Respiratory Symptoms in Sweden
Official Title  ICMJE Management of Patients With Respiratory Symptoms in Sweden
Brief Summary This is a web-based randomized survey to evaluate management of respiratory symptoms among physicians in Sweden. The aim of this study is to determine if there is a gender bias in the diagnosis of COPD and how often physicians identify that chronic refractory breathlessness requires treatment as compared to refractory pain.
Detailed Description

BACKGROUND:

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. An American randomized web-based study showed important differences in the diagnosis of COPD among female and male patients.Women were more likely to be misdiagnosed as chronic cough or asthma instead of COPD and physicians were more reluctant to refer further women for spirometry.This is of importance as treatment and follow-up differ between the conditions.

Breathlessness, a subjective experience of breathing discomfort, is the cardinal symptom of cardiac and pulmonary disease. In advanced COPD, 98% of patients experience breathlessness which persists at rest or on minimal exertion, despite optimal treatment of the underlying disease (chronic refractory breathlessness). Dyspnea is linked to reduced physical activity, worsening deconditioning, increased anxiety and depression, impaired quality of life, loss of the will to live near death, increased risk of hospitalization, and earlier death.

The preferred treatment for the relief of chronic refractory breathlessness is a systemic (oral or parenteral) low dose opioid (Level I evidence). In a recent meta-analysis of 16 studies (271 patients in total), low dose opioids reduced chronic refractory breathlessness in advanced COPD, without any reported serious adverse effects. Lower dose opioids were not associated with increased risk of admission to hospital or death in a large register-based Swedish study of 2,249 patients with oxygen-dependent COPD patients treated with lower dose opioids (≤ 30mg of oral morphine/day).

Despite the growing evidence that support the use of opioids, physicians are reluctant to prescribe low dose opioids for breathlessness in COPD. In a review of 2000 random dispensed opioid prescriptions among patients with advanced COPD, most of whom suffered from severe chronic breathlessness, the most common stated indication was pain (97%), with only 2% for breathlessness. In a survey, Dutch chest physicians were reluctant to prescribe opioids for refractory breathlessness in advanced COPD due to perceived resistance from the patient and fear of adverse effects, including respiratory depression. Qualitative studies from Canada has shown that physicians in pulmonary medicine and primary care, families and patients feel that low dose opioids can be helpful for the relief of breathlessness, but that treatment was delayed or avoided due to lack of guidelines, lack of related knowledge and experience about opioids, and fears related to the potential adverse effects and legal censure.

No randomized trial has compared how physicians assess and treat refractory breathlessness versus refractory pain, how often opioids are considered for treatment of breathlessness and what factors affect the choice of treatment in chronic breathlessness as compared to pain in advanced COPD. Furthermore, it remains unknown if there is a gender bias in the diagnosis of COPD among physicians treating COPD patients.

METHOD:

This is a randomized, triple-blind, parallel group-, web-based study based on a survey instrument which is answered by certified physicians who treat patients with respiratory problems in Sweden. The survey is based upon a hypothetical patient case which regards situations and considerations that are part of physicians' daily clinical management and treatment of COPD patients. Two randomizations take place regarding the hypothetical case 1) Sex 2) Symptom. The participant is shown a hypothetical patient case which is randomized (1:1:1:1) regarding sex and symptom to one of four potential case scenarios: man+breathlessness; man+pain; woman+breathlessness; or woman+pain.

AIM:

The aim of the study is to determine if there is a gender bias in the diagnosis of COPD; how often physicians identify that chronic refractory breathlessness requires treatment as compared to refractory pain, which symptomatic treatments are considered with focus on morphine; explore physicians perception regarding the grade of evidence for different treatments for the relief of chronic breathlessness; and examine which factors affect physicians decision to treat refractory breathlessness with opioids.

Study Type  ICMJE Interventional
Study Phase  ICMJE Not Applicable
Study Design  ICMJE Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Diagnostic
Condition  ICMJE Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Intervention  ICMJE
  • Other: Person in the case is a male.
    Person in the case is a male.
  • Other: Person in the case is a female.
    Person in the case is a female.
  • Other: Symptom in the case is breathlessness.
    Symptom in the case is breathlessness.
  • Other: Symptom in the case is pain.
    Symptom in the case is pain.
Study Arms  ICMJE
  • Man+Breathlessness
    Person in the case is a male. Symptom in the case is breathlessness.
    Interventions:
    • Other: Person in the case is a male.
    • Other: Symptom in the case is breathlessness.
  • Man+Pain
    Person in the case is a male. Symptom in the case is pain.
    Interventions:
    • Other: Person in the case is a male.
    • Other: Symptom in the case is pain.
  • Woman+Breathlessness
    Person in the case is a female. Symptom in the case is breathlessness.
    Interventions:
    • Other: Person in the case is a female.
    • Other: Symptom in the case is breathlessness.
  • Woman+Pain
    Person in the case is a female.Symptom in the case is pain.
    Interventions:
    • Other: Person in the case is a female.
    • Other: Symptom in the case is pain.
Publications * Ahmadi Z, Sandberg J, Shannon-Honson A, Vandersman Z, Currow DC, Ekström M. Is chronic breathlessness less recognised and treated compared with chronic pain? A case-based randomised controlled trial. Eur Respir J. 2018 Sep 15;52(3). pii: 1800887. doi: 10.1183/13993003.00887-2018. Print 2018 Sep.

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
 
Recruitment Information
Recruitment Status  ICMJE Completed
Actual Enrollment  ICMJE
 (submitted: August 23, 2017)
134
Original Estimated Enrollment  ICMJE
 (submitted: April 4, 2016)
182
Actual Study Completion Date  ICMJE May 2017
Actual Primary Completion Date May 2017   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Eligibility Criteria  ICMJE

Inclusion Criteria (all required):

  • Certified physician
  • Treats patients with respiratory symptoms and reduced physical activity
  • Able to read and understand a hypothetical case in Swedish

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Knowledge about the aim and/or design of the study, or
  • Previous participation in the study
Sex/Gender  ICMJE
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
Ages  ICMJE Child, Adult, Older Adult
Accepts Healthy Volunteers  ICMJE Yes
Contacts  ICMJE Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
Listed Location Countries  ICMJE Sweden
Removed Location Countries  
 
Administrative Information
NCT Number  ICMJE NCT02728674
Other Study ID Numbers  ICMJE CASE2016
Has Data Monitoring Committee No
U.S. FDA-regulated Product Not Provided
IPD Sharing Statement  ICMJE
Plan to Share IPD: No
Responsible Party Magnus Ekström, Skane University Hospital
Study Sponsor  ICMJE Skane University Hospital
Collaborators  ICMJE Not Provided
Investigators  ICMJE
Principal Investigator: Magnus Ekström, MD, PhD Department of Medicine, Blekinge Hospital, SE-37185 Karlskrona
PRS Account Skane University Hospital
Verification Date August 2017

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP