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Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: Protocol for the randomised, single-blinded, parallel-group Sleep-RA trial

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Background: More than half of patients with rheumatoid arthritis complain of insomnia, which is predominantly treated with hypnotic drugs. However, cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia is recommended as the first-line treatment in international guidelines on sleep. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis suffer from debilitating symptoms, such as fatigue and pain, which can also be linked to sleep disturbance. It remains to be determined whether cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia can be effective in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The aim of the Sleep-RA trial is to investigate the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia on sleep and disease-related symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The primary objective is to compare the effect of cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia relative to usual care on changes in sleep efficiency from baseline to week 7 in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The key secondary objectives are to compare the effect of cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia relative to usual care on changes in sleep onset latency, wake after sleep onset, total sleep time, insomnia, sleep quality, fatigue, impact of rheumatoid arthritis and depressive symptoms from baseline to week 26 in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Methods: The Sleep-RA trial is a randomised controlled trial with a two-group parallel design. Sixty patients with rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia and low-to-moderate disease activity will be allocated 1:1 to treatment with cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia or usual care. Patients in the intervention group will receive nurse-led, group-based cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia once a week for 6 weeks. Outcome assessments will be carried out at baseline, after treatment (week 7) and at follow-up (week 26). Discussion: Data on treatment of insomnia in patients with rheumatoid arthritis are sparse. The Sleep-RA trial is the first randomised controlled trial to investigate the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Because symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and insomnia have many similarities, we also find it relevant to investigate the secondary effects of cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia on fatigue, impact of rheumatoid arthritis, depressive symptoms, pain, functional status, health-related quality of life and disease activity. If we find cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia to be effective in patients with rheumatoid arthritis this will add weight to the argument that evidence-based non-pharmacological treatment for insomnia in rheumatological outpatient clinics is eligible in accordance with the existing international guidelines on sleep. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03766100. Registered on 30 November 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Article number440
JournalTrials
Volume21
Issue number1
ISSN1745-6215
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2020

    Research areas

  • Actigraphy, Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia, Fatigue, Health-related quality of life, Impact of rheumatoid arthritis, Inflammatory arthritis, Insomnia, Non-pharmacological treatment, Polysomnography, Sleep disturbance

ID: 60177244