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Psychosomatics. 2003 Jan-Feb;44(1):44-50.

Randomized trial of cognitive behavior therapy versus supportive psychotherapy for HIV-related peripheral neuropathic pain.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


The feasibility and acceptability of cognitive behavior therapy for HIV-related peripheral neuropathic pain was examined and the potential efficacy of the intervention was compared with that of supportive psychotherapy in reducing pain, pain-related interference with functioning, and distress. Sixty-one patients were randomly assigned to receive six weekly sessions of cognitive behavior therapy or supportive psychotherapy. Thirty-three subjects completed the protocol. Both groups showed significant reductions in pain. The cognitive behavior group improved in most domains of pain-related functional interference and distress; the supportive psychotherapy group showed fewer gains. The high dropout rate suggests that psychotherapeutic treatments for HIV-related pain may have limited feasibility and acceptability.

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