Opioid Medications and Prescription Drug Abuse
Goal:

The medical student will be able to effectively select an appropriate opioid for patients who need chronic opioid therapy and communicate the risks and benefits of the selected opioid medication with the patient.

: 0.5 hrs

After completing this activity participants will be able to:

  • Choose short vs. long term opioid based on individual factors

  • Develop a medication treatment plan based on pain variables

  • Develop a medication treatment plan based on historical variables including addiction history and past opioid use


Professional Practice GapsOne study of prescribing practices for cancer pain found that opioid prescribing errors were common (found in 70% of those with cancer pain) with opioid dosing strategy issues accounting for most errors (including incorrectly using multiple opioids from the same class) (Shaheen et al 2010). A study of Michigan physicians who treat chronic pain found that many physicians expressed generally low satisfaction and confidence in their treatment of chronic pain, and a large number of respondents selected the worst or a poor treatment option for the chronic pain vignettes (Green et al 2002). For example, when asked how they would treat Rheumatoid Arthritis, approximately 30% of physicians chose the worst or a poor treatment option. Also, prescriptions of opioid analgesics were infrequent. Physicians with pain education were more likely to choose the best responses to the vignettes. Another study of prescribing practices for cancer pain found that opioid prescribing errors were common (found in 70% of those with cancer pain) with opioid dosing strategy issues accounting for most errors (including incorrectly using multiple opioids from the same class) (Shaheen et al 2010). References
How Well is Chronic Pain Managed? Who Does it Well? . Journal of Pain Medicine. 2002; 3(1): 56-65.
Errors in opioid prescribing: A prospective survey in cancer pain. The American Journal of Pain Symptom Management. 2010; 39(4): 702-711.