LIFELAX – diet and LIFEstyle versus LAXatives in the management of chronic constipation in older people: randomised controlled trial
ABSTRACT To investigate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of laxatives versus dietary and lifestyle advice, and standardised versus personalised dietary and lifestyle advice.
A prospective, pragmatic, three-armed cluster randomised trial with an economic evaluation.
General practices in England and Scotland, UK.
People aged ≥ 55 years with chronic constipation, living in private households. Participants were identified as those who had been prescribed laxatives three or more times in the previous 12 months, or with a recorded diagnosis of chronic functional constipation.
Prescription of laxatives, with class of laxative and dose at the discretion of the GP and patient (standard care control arm); standardised, non-personalised dietary and lifestyle advice; and, personalised dietary and lifestyle advice, with reinforcement.
The primary outcome was the constipation-specific Patient Assessment of Constipation-Symptoms (PAC-SYM)/Patient Assessment of Constipation-Quality of Life (PAC-QOL).
The trial planned to recruit and retain 1425 patients from 57 practices (19 per arm); however, only 154 patients were recruited from 19 practices. Due to these low recruitment rates it was not possible to report the conventional trial findings. Baseline characteristics of the sample from data gathered from both postal self-completion questionnaires and face-to-face interviews suggest that our sample experienced very few symptoms of constipation (PAC-SYM) and that the condition itself did not have a major impact upon their quality of life (PAC-QOL). The low level of symptoms of constipation is most likely explained by 90% of the sample using a laxative in the previous week. Most participants in our sample were satisfied with the performance of their laxatives, and levels of anxiety and depression were low. Their fibre consumption was classified as 'moderate' but their average water consumption fell below the recommended guidelines. Daily diaries, completed each day for a period of 6 months, were analysed primarily in terms of overall response rate and item response rates, and the participants accepted this method of data collection. For the economic evaluation, all of the trial arms experienced a reduction in utility, as measured by EQ-5D. There was no statistical evidence to suggest that either the personalised intervention arm or the standardised intervention arm was associated with significant changes in utility at 3 months compared with the control arm. Data on related health-care costs show a cost saving of £13.34 for those in the personalised arm, compared with the control arm, and a smaller cost saving for the standardised arm. These savings primarily occurred because of reduced hospital costs. There was no significant change measured in utility, so the personalised arm appeared to be the preferred course, producing the greatest cost savings.
Due to the low number of participants in the trial, no firm conclusions could be drawn about the effectiveness of the interventions. However, a number of factors that contributed to the conduct and progress of the trial are highlighted, which may be relevant to others conducting research on a similar topic or population.
This project was funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 14, No. 52. See the HTA programme website for further project information.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Carl May, Dec 26, 2013
- SourceAvailable from: Evelyn Ansah
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- "The need to build capacity in low-income settings for skilled research coordinators who can manage clinical trials with a scientific perspective in local settings has been previously identified . In addition, the importance of the ‘hidden work’ required of a trial manager to establish and maintain trial processes within a clinical context has also been acknowledged . We recommend that this position is recognised as playing a vital role in bridging the evaluation activity ‘in the field’ with the higher level interpretation of data and results, thus negotiating the practical and the scientific work of an evaluation in order to generate meaningful results. "
ABSTRACT: Background There is increasing recognition among trialists of the challenges in understanding how particular ‘real-life’ contexts influence the delivery and receipt of complex health interventions. Evaluations of interventions to change health worker and/or patient behaviours in health service settings exemplify these challenges. When interpreting evaluation data, deviation from intended intervention implementation is accounted for through process evaluations of fidelity, reach, and intensity. However, no such systematic approach has been proposed to account for the way evaluation activities may deviate in practice from assumptions made when data are interpreted. Methods A collective case study was conducted to explore experiences of undertaking evaluation activities in the real-life contexts of nine complex intervention trials seeking to improve appropriate diagnosis and treatment of malaria in varied health service settings. Multiple sources of data were used, including in-depth interviews with investigators, participant-observation of studies, and rounds of discussion and reflection. Results and discussion From our experiences of the realities of conducting these evaluations, we identified six key ‘lessons learned’ about ways to become aware of and manage aspects of the fabric of trials involving the interface of researchers, fieldworkers, participants and data collection tools that may affect the intended production of data and interpretation of findings. These lessons included: foster a shared understanding across the study team of how individual practices contribute to the study goals; promote and facilitate within-team communications for ongoing reflection on the progress of the evaluation; establish processes for ongoing collaboration and dialogue between sub-study teams; the importance of a field research coordinator bridging everyday project management with scientific oversight; collect and review reflective field notes on the progress of the evaluation to aid interpretation of outcomes; and these approaches should help the identification of and reflection on possible overlaps between the evaluation and intervention. Conclusion The lessons we have drawn point to the principle of reflexivity that, we argue, needs to become part of standard practice in the conduct of evaluations of complex interventions to promote more meaningful interpretations of the effects of an intervention and to better inform future implementation and decision-making.Implementation Science 06/2014; 9(1):75. DOI:10.1186/1748-5908-9-75 · 3.47 Impact Factor
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- "Several therapies (such as lifestyle changes, osmotic agents, bulking agents, and so on) [6,7] have been used in clinical practice, which is believed to be helpful in relieving symptoms. Nonetheless, many of these therapies were not proven to be effective for the condition, or were difficult to tolerate because of adverse events [8-10]. "
ABSTRACT: Whether acupuncture is effective for patients with functional constipation is still unclear. Therefore, we report the protocol of a randomized controlled trial of using acupuncture to treat functional constipation. A randomized, controlled, four-arm design, large-scale trial is currently undergoing in China. Seven hundred participants are randomly assigned to three acupuncture treatment groups and Mosapride Citrate control group in a 1:1:1:1 ratio. Participants in acupuncture groups receive 16 sessions of acupuncture treatment, and are followed up for a period of 9 weeks after randomization. The acupuncture groups are: (1) Back-Shu and Front-Mu acupoints of Large Intestine meridians (Shu-Mu points group); (2) He-Sea and Lower He-Sea acupoints of Large Intestine meridians (He points group); (3) Combining used Back-Shu, Front-Mu, He-Sea, and Lower He-Sea acupoints of Large Intestine meridians (Shu-Mu-He points group). The control group is Mosapride Citrate group. The primary outcome is frequency of defecation per week at the fourth week after randomization. The secondary outcomes include Bristol stool scale, the extent of difficulty during defecating, MOS 36-item Short Form health survey (SF-36), Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), and Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS). The first two of second outcomes are measured 1 week before randomization and 2, 4, and 8 weeks after randomization. Other second outcomes are measured 1 week before randomization and 2 and 4 weeks after randomization, but SF-36 is measured at randomization and 4 weeks after randomization. The result of this trial (which will be available in 2012) will confirm whether acupuncture is effective to treat functional constipation and whether traditional acupuncture theories play an important role in it. Clinical Trials.gov NCT01411501.Trials 07/2012; 13(1):104. DOI:10.1186/1745-6215-13-104 · 2.12 Impact Factor
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- "• aid understanding of the findings of randomised controlled trials for psychosocial distress and nurse-led clinics for heart failure treatment , chronic constipation  and collaborative care for depression  "
ABSTRACT: Normalization Process Theory (NPT) can be used to explain implementation processes in health care relating to new technologies and complex interventions. This paper describes the processes by which we developed a simplified version of NPT for use by clinicians, managers, and policy makers, and which could be embedded in a web-enabled toolkit and on-line users manual. Between 2006 and 2010 we undertook four tasks. (i) We presented NPT to potential and actual users in multiple workshops, seminars, and presentations. (ii) Using what we discovered from these meetings, we decided to create a simplified set of statements and explanations expressing core constructs of the theory (iii) We circulated these statements to a criterion sample of 60 researchers, clinicians and others, using SurveyMonkey to collect qualitative textual data about their criticisms of the statements. (iv) We then reconstructed the statements and explanations to meet users' criticisms, embedded them in a web-enabled toolkit, and beta tested this 'in the wild'. On-line data collection was effective: over a four week period 50/60 participants responded using SurveyMonkey (40/60) or direct phone and email contact (10/60). An additional nine responses were received from people who had been sent the SurveyMonkey form by other respondents. Beta testing of the web enabled toolkit produced 13 responses, from 327 visits to http://www.normalizationprocess.org. Qualitative analysis of both sets of responses showed a high level of support for the statements but also showed that some statements poorly expressed their underlying constructs or overlapped with others. These were rewritten to take account of users' criticisms and then embedded in a web-enabled toolkit. As a result we were able translate the core constructs into a simplified set of statements that could be utilized by non-experts. Normalization Process Theory has been developed through transparent procedures at each stage of its life. The theory has been shown to be sufficiently robust to merit formal testing. This project has provided a user friendly version of NPT that can be embedded in a web-enabled toolkit and used as a heuristic device to think through implementation and integration problems.BMC Health Services Research 09/2011; 11:245. DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-11-245 · 1.66 Impact Factor