Behaviour change interventions for the management of Raynaud's phenomenon: a systematic review protocol

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INTRODUCTION: Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) describes excessive peripheral vasospasm to cold exposure and/or emotional stress. RP episodes are associated with digital colour changes, pain and reduced quality of life. Pharmacological interventions are of low to moderate efficacy and often result in adverse effects such as facial flushing and headaches. Recommended lifestyle and behavioural interventions have not been evaluated. The objectives of the proposed systematic review are to assess the comparative safety and efficacy of behaviour change interventions for RP and identify what we can learn to inform future interventions.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Studies eligible for inclusion include randomised controlled trials testing behaviour change interventions with a control comparator. A comprehensive search strategy will include peer review and grey literature up until 30 April 2017. Search databases will include Medline, Embase, PsychINFO and Cochrane. Initial sifting, eligibility, data extraction, risk of bias and quality assessment will be subject to review by two independent reviewers with a third reviewer resolving discrepancies. Risk of bias assessment will be performed using Cochrane risk of a bias assessment tool with quality of evidence assessed using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation(GRADE). A meta-analysis will be performed if there are sufficient data. Two subgroup analyses are planned: primary versus secondary RP outcomes; comparison of theoretically informed interventions with pragmatic interventions.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This review does not require ethical approval as it will summarise published studies with non-identifiable data. This protocol complies with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P) guidelines. Findings will be disseminated in peer-reviewed articles and reported according to PRISMA. This review will make a significant contribution to the management of RP where no review of behaviour-change interventions currently exist. The synopsis and protocol for the proposed systematic review is registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (registration number CRD42017049643).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere017039
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2017


  • Behavior Therapy
  • Cold Temperature/adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Raynaud Disease/physiopathology
  • Research Design
  • Review Literature as Topic
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Stress, Psychological/complications


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