The following is an excerpt from an article appearing in the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC)
More than 46 Americans die from prescription opioid overdoses every day, while the number of deaths from prescription opioids has more than quadrupled since 1999. Lack of expertise on how to measure and treat pain is a large factor driving the crisis. In addition, challenges in identifying those who are at risk for opioid abuse or who are already dependent on opioids adds further complexity.
Americans consume 80% of opioid painkillers produced worldwide. Yet the amount of pain reported hasn’t changed since in the past 2 decades, according to the CDC. For physicians, this points to the need to reconsider when to prescribe an opioid—if at all. Providers face intense pressures to adequately treat pain and may not know the data that supports nonopioid therapies.
Breaking the cycle of prescription opioid abuse requires new thinking around pain management and alternative options for helping patients deal with chronic pain. The following are 6 things physicians should consider before prescribing an opioid.