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HHS Announces Guide for Appropriate Tapering or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Use

  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a new Guide for Clinicians on the Appropriate Dosage Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Analgesics. Individual patients, as well as the health of the public, benefit when opioids are prescribed only when the benefit of using opioids outweighs the risks. But once a patient is on opioids for a prolonged duration, any abrupt change in the patient’s regimen may put the patient at risk of harm and should include a thorough, deliberative case review and discussion with the patient. The HHS Guide provides advice to clinicians who are contemplating or initiating a change in opioid dosage.

HHS Announces Guide for Appropriate Tapering or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Use

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a new Guide for Clinicians on the Appropriate Dosage Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Analgesics – PDF. Individual patients, as well as the health of the public, benefit when opioids are prescribed only when the benefit of using opioids outweighs the risks. But once a patient is on opioids for a prolonged duration, any abrupt change in the patient’s regimen may put the patient at risk of harm and should include a thorough, deliberative case review and discussion with the patient. The HHS Guide provides advice to clinicians who are contemplating or initiating a change in opioid dosage.  

AAPM Endorses Pain Management Task Force Final Report on Best Practices for Treatment of Pain

June 5, 2019, CHICAGO – The American Academy of Pain Medicine Board of Directors (AAPM) enthusiastically endorses the HHS Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Final Report, which calls for a balanced, individualized, patient-centered approach to pain care.

The Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force was authorized by Congress on a bipartisan basis with a charge to propose updates to best practices and issue recommendations that address gaps or inconsistencies in managing chronic and acute pain in light of the ongoing opioid crisis, one of the greatest public health crises of our time.

“We commend Task Force members for their dedication to create this comprehensive and impactful report,” says AAPM President, Tim Lamer, MD. “The Academy is especially proud of its four members who served on the Task Force, including Past Presidents Dr. Jianguo Cheng and Dr. Rollin M. Gallagher, as well as Dr. Halena Gazelka and Dr. Friedhelm Sandbrink.”

The Task Force final report emphasizes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating pain, instead highlighting five broad categories for pain treatment: medications, interventional procedures, restorative therapies, behavioral health, and complementary and integrative health approaches. The report also highlights the unique challenges and disparities facing special patient populations, such as children, adolescents, and older adults.

Education at the public, patient, provider, and policymaker levels is identified as critical to delivering patient-centered care, optimizing patient functional outcomes, eliminating stigma, and reducing the risk associated with prescription opioids. Specifically, expanding clinician pain training – including by increasing postgraduate positions to train pain specialists – is suggested as a means of improving access to pain care.

“This report offers necessary insight and recommendations to address the ongoing dual crises of opioid overuse, abuse, and diversion and the prevalence of chronic pain among Americans,” says Dr. Lamer. “AAPM looks forward to working with its membership and federal agencies to advocate for enacting report recommendations, with the ultimate goal of promoting multidisciplinary pain care and improving the lives of patients suffering from chronic and acute pain.”

About AAPM

The American Academy of Pain Medicine is the premier medical association for pain physicians and their treatment teams with some 2,000 members. Now in its 36th year of service, the Academy’s mission is to advance and promote the full spectrum of multidisciplinary pain care, education, advocacy, and research to improve function and quality of life for people in pain. Information is available on the Academy’s website at painmed.org.

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AAPM

American Academy of Pain Medicine