Magazine article Drug Topics

California Leads Way to Pain Control with Opioid Guide

Magazine article Drug Topics

California Leads Way to Pain Control with Opioid Guide

Article excerpt

California has joined the growing number of states that have changed their thinking on pain management. The state medical board recognized the role of opioids in pain management in the early 1990s and backed legislative changes to encourage more appropriate use of the drugs. But pharmacy guidelines issued recently, naming opioids explicitly as appropriate treatment for all types of pain in home as well as institutional settings, may be a first for state drug regulators.

The board is "encouraging the timely availability of opioids in different health-care settings such as hospitals, patients' homes, and pharmacies," noted the introduction to Health Notes, the board's semiannual pharmacist and consumer publication, which devoted an entire issue to pain management. "There is a misconception by patients, the public, and some licensed health-care providers that opioids are 'bad' drugs because [they] are often associated with drug abuse, addiction, and criminal activity. Studies have showed that opioids used appropriately for pain management have an extremely low potential for abuse."

Carmen Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, confirmed that California's new guidelines are part of a nationwide shift in pain management. For the first time, he said, large numbers of patients with chronic pain-not just the terminally ill-are being treated in community and home care settings instead of in institutions.

Board members are seeing firsthand that pain is chronically undertreated. With personal experience to back up research findings, practice guidelines are changing. "We are the first board of pharmacy to take this step," said M. Standifer Shreve, chair of the California board's consumer education, information, and communication committee, which was responsible for publicizing the guidelines. "This isn't a regulatory move; this is educational. We want to be a resource to pharmacists, not an adversary."

An adversary is precisely what many health-care regulatory boards have become, said Dale Breaden, spokesman for the North Carolina Medical Board. The NCMB changed its own stance on the use of opioids last September after two years of study. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.