Strategies to enhance recruitment methods in phantom limb pain clinical trials

Camila Bonin Pinto, Faddi Ghassan Saleh Vélez, Melanie N. French, Dian Zeng, David Crandell, Nadia Bolognini, Lotfi B. Merabet, Felipe Fregni


Phantom limp pain (PLP) was first described in 1551. To date, its mechanisms and novel interventions remain mostly untested. Only limited conclusions can be drawn from few and small sized randomized clinical trials (RCTs) on PLP. In this scenario, enhanced recruitment strategies are crucial in order to overcome inherent challenges to recruit and enroll PLP subjects for clinical trials. Although there are many general methods to enhance recruitment and also retention, in this article we discuss these methods based on a common topic; dissemination. We summarize and discuss ten strategies of recruitment related to the dissemination of information based on the notion that increased trial awareness may lead to both improved recruitment and also external generalizability. In addition, we include insights based on our experience recruiting PLP patients for the purposes of a large-scale and on-going NIH-sponsored clinical trial. Although specific regulatory considerations need to be considered when choosing the methods of recruitment (which may vary across different countries and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)), these strategies may be applicable to most research settings.


Phantom limp pain, Randomized clinical trials, Recruitment methods

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