Pain Management Effectiveness Research Network (ERN)
The Research Need
Patients and clinicians need to know which pain treatments work best. These approaches should be safe and effective for treating both acute pain and chronic pain.
About the Program
This program evaluates the effectiveness of many different therapies to guide clinical practice in real-world settings. This broad research effort seeks to improve pain care by enhancing understanding about chronic pain as well as by accelerating and improving pain therapeutics development. Dedicated resource centers optimize and coordinate these collaborative activities.
The program leverages the infrastructure of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Trial Innovation Network to support clinical trials that compare the effectiveness of existing non-addictive pain therapies as well as existing or novel approaches for pain prevention and management. The program is aligned with the high-priority recommendations of the Federal Pain Research Strategy and supports implementation of the recommendations of the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force.
To date, through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, NIH has contributed $90.9 million to fund this program through grants to six institutions for clinical trials and supplemental awards to six institutions to support clinical trials and clinical trial infrastructure.
Research examples supported by this program include:
- Evaluating the effectiveness of nonpharmacological treatments for pain, including behavioral interventions delivered by trained providers and through telehealth programs and self-management programs
- Studying a broad range of pain conditions, including chronic pain, chronic cancer pain, chronic musculoskeletal pain, sickle cell disease pain, perioperative pain, post-Cesarean delivery pain, and knee osteoarthritis
- Involving understudied populations, including older adults, adolescents, veterans, people in rural areas, and postpartum women
- Combining cognitive behavioral and medication-based treatments to improve patient outcomes (both pain relief and function)
- Establishing resource centers that optimize the coordination of individual clinical trials and facilitate the dissemination of strategies and best practices for conducting pain clinical trials