There is much discussion on the safety and effectiveness of prescribing opioids for chronic pain patients. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued clinical guidelines for chronic opioid therapy, these guidelines are not followed by many medical practices.
A NIDA-funded randomized controlled trial that compared two organizational strategies to improve adherence to guidelines suggests that a multi-component approach is more effective than electronic decision tools alone. The more intensive intervention included a nurse care manager, a suite of online tools, and advice and assistance from an expert in opiate prescribing (i.e., academic detailing). While the multicomponent intervention improved adherence to the guideline-recommended monitoring of patients with chronic pain, it did not decrease early opioid refills. Further research is needed to determine whether guideline adherence reduces opioid-related risks.
For a copy of the paper — "Improving Adherence to Long-term Opioid Therapy Guidelines to Reduce Opioid Misuse in Primary CareA Cluster-Randomized Clinical Trial"— published in JAMA Internal Medicine, go to: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2643777.
For information about opioids, go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids.
NIDA Press Office
About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): NIDA is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. For more information about NIDA and its programs, visit www.drugabuse.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®