Efficacy of pain education in cancer patients: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Research paper by Hyun Jung HJ Jho, Seung-Kwon SK Myung, Yoon-Jung YJ Chang, Dae-Hyun DH Kim, Doo Heun DH Ko

Indexed on: 23 Feb '13Published on: 23 Feb '13Published in: Supportive Care in Cancer


Patient education has been considered as one of the important strategies to improve cancer pain control. However, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have reported inconsistent findings on this issue. This study aims to evaluate the overall efficacy of pain education on improving pain management in cancer patients by using a meta-analysis of RCTs.We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library in February 2012. Two evaluators independently reviewed and selected trials based on the predetermined selection criteria. Out of 213 articles meeting initial criteria, 12 RCTs involving 2,169 participants (1,069 intervention group and 1,100 control group), were included in the final analysis.In the meta-analysis of all 12 RCTs, compared with the control group, the intervention group showed a small significant lower pain intensity (standardized mean difference [SMD], -0.11; 95 % confidence interval [CI], -0.20 to -0.02). In the subgroup meta-analysis by various factors, a beneficial effect of pain education was observed for patients with an estimated prognosis of at least 3 months, a follow-up within 2 weeks after pain education, multiple sessions, measured worst pain, tailored education, general pain management, education by medical staff, and usual care for a control group. However, in the subgroup meta-analyses of trials using attention control as a control group and high-quality trials, there was no significant effect of pain education.Further large, high-quality RCTs using a placebo control such as attention control are required to investigate whether pain education has a true efficacy on pain control or is a placebo effect.