Campaigns to reduce prescriptions for opioid medications have been recognized as a good step forward, but we’re still a long way from bringing prescribing rates down to an appropriate level according to data newly released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. One problem recognized in the report is a shortage of relevant, specific guidelines. This is especially true when it comes to prescribing pain medications for patients who have undergone certain procedures (C-section, dental surgery, and knee replacement were all mentioned) or are experiencing migraine, low-back pain, or discomfort related to kidney stones, among other acute issues, it says. Janet Woodcock, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration, said in a statement that a nuanced approach is needed to ensure patients who truly need opioids for pain can get them while ensuring no single patient gets an unnecessary prescription, or is prescribed more medication than is needed to manage their pain. To learn more about what can be done in the urgent care setting, read The Potential Role of Urgent Care in Addressing the Opiate Epidemic in the JUCM archive.
Despite Progress, Opioids Are Still Overprescribed—and a Threat to Public Safety