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Updates to pain guidelines in the era of opioid addiction have focused on treatment of chronic pain, generally. The latest edict takes a close look at the practice of prescribing narcotic medications for acute pain, however—a subject all the more relevant to the urgent care provider. Improving the Safety of Opioid Use for Acute Noncancer Pain in Hospitalized Adults: A Consensus Statement from the Society of Hospital Medicine recommends limiting the use of opioids to treating severe pain, moderate pain that has not responded to opioid therapy, where nonopioid therapy is contraindicated, or where it can be anticipated to be ineffective. The guidelines also push for more patient and family education on the potential risks of opioids, starting with addiction and side effects. If opioids are ultimately chosen, the advisory suggests using the lowest possible dose of immediate-release formulations for the shortest duration possible. The full set of 16 guidelines was published this month in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

New Guidance Recommends Against Opioids for Acute Pain, Too
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