Development and Preliminary Evaluation of an Integrated Cognitive-Behavior Treatment for Chronic Pain and Substance Use Disorder in Patients with the Hepatitis C Virus

Benjamin Morasco, David W. Greaves, Travis Lovejoy, Dennis C. Turk, Steven Dobscha, Peter Hauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Individuals with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have high rates of both chronic pain and substance use disorder (SUD). Despite high comorbidity, there are limited data available on effective methods of treatment for co-occurring chronic pain and SUD. In this study, we sought to develop and conduct preliminary testing of an integrated cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) for chronic pain and SUD in patients with HCV.

DESIGN: Descriptive, including pretreatment, posttreatment, and follow-up testing.

SETTING AND PATIENTS: Outpatient clinic as part of one VA Medical Center.

PARTICIPANTS: Veterans with chronic pain, SUD, and HCV.

INTERVENTION: Eight-session integrated group CBT for chronic pain and SUD in patients with HCV.

METHODS: Participants completed standardized measures of pain, function, depression severity, and alcohol and substance use at baseline, post-treatment, and 3-month follow-up.

RESULTS: Generalized estimating equations identified improvements in pain interference, reducing cravings for alcohol and other substances, and decreasing past-month alcohol and substance use. The proportion of participants who met diagnostic criteria for current SUD demonstrated a four-fold decrease over the course of the study from 24% at baseline to 15% at post-treatment and 6% at 3-month follow-up. On response to a global impression of change, 94% of participants noted improvement from baseline.

CONCLUSIONS: Results from this pilot study suggest that a customized CBT for patients with both chronic pain and SUD (CBT-cp.sud) may be beneficial in improving important pain and addiction-related outcomes in patients with HCV. Larger scale investigations of this intervention appear warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2280-2290
Number of pages11
JournalPain medicine (Malden, Mass.)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Chronic Pain
  • Cognitive-Behavior Therapy
  • Hepatitis C Virus
  • Integrated Treatment
  • Substance Use Disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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