Pain Management in Primary Care: Strategies to Mitigate Opioid Misuse, Abuse, and Diversion
ABSTRACT Pain is among the most common reasons patients seek medical attention, and the care of patients with pain is a significant problem in the United States. Acute pain (mild-to-moderate intensity) represents one of the most frequent complaints encountered by primary care physicians (PCPs) and accounts for nearly half of patient visits. However, the overall quality of pain management remains unacceptable for millions of US patients with acute or chronic pain, and underrecognition and undertreatment of pain are of particular concern in primary care. Primary care physicians face dual challenges from the emerging epidemics of undertreated pain and prescription opioid abuse. Negative impacts of untreated pain on patient activities of daily living and public health expenditures, combined with the success of opioid analgesics in treating pain provide a strong rationale for PCPs to learn best practices for pain management. These clinicians must address the challenge of maintaining therapeutic access for patients with a legitimate medical need for opioids, while simultaneously minimizing the risk of abuse and addiction. Safe and effective pain management requires clinical skill and knowledge of the principles of opioid treatment as well as the effective assessment of risks associated with opioid abuse, addiction, and diversion. Easily implementable patient selection and screening, with selective use of safeguards, can mitigate potential risks of opioids in the busy primary practice setting. Primary care physicians can become advocates for proper pain management and ensure that all patients with pain are treated appropriately.
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ABSTRACT: Background: The terms “opioid” and “narcotic” are often used interchangeably by healthcare providers. The purpose of this study was to compare understanding “narcotics” vs. “opioids.”Methods: A convenience sample of English‐speaking women (n = 188), aged 21–45 years, seeking care at a primary care clinic were asked (1) “What is an opioid/narcotic?” (2) “Give an example of an opioid/narcotic?” (3) “Why does someone take an opioid/narcotic?” and (4) “What happens when someone takes an opioid/narcotic for a long time?” Responses were recorded verbatim by a research assistant and then coded independently by two investigators.Results: More than half of respondents (55.9%) responded “don’t know” to all 4 opioid questions, while just 3.2% responded “don’t know” to all 4 narcotic questions (P Conclusions: While more women were more familiar with narcotic, many identified negative connotations with this term. Future research should explore how to improve patient understanding and attitudes regarding both the terms opioids and narcotics.Pain Practice 02/2013; 13(2). DOI:10.1111/j.1533-2500.2012.00568.x · 2.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: : Millions of Americans have chronic pain for which chronic opioid therapy may be warranted. In light of recent problems with abuse of these medications, clinicians must exercise caution and develop uniform approaches to prescribing. It is possible to assess for opioid risk and safely prescribe opioids.The Nurse practitioner 04/2014; DOI:10.1097/01.NPR.0000446868.79458.da
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ABSTRACT: Pain is among the most common reasons that patients seek medical care, and inadequate assessment may result in suboptimal management. Acute pain in response to trauma or surgery can be complex, variable, and dynamic, but its assessment is often simplistic and brief. One-dimensional rating scale measures of pain severity facilitate rapid evaluation and often form the basis of treatment algorithms. However, additional features of pain should inform the selection of a treatment regimen, and can include pain qualities, duration, impact on functional capabilities, and underlying cause. Patient age, sex, psychosocial features, and comorbid conditions are also important features to consider. Use of a multidimensional tool is recommended for assessing many of these features if time permits. Additionally, clinicians often fail to recognize or consider the potentially detrimental long-term effects of acute pain. As the United States continues to experience a prescription drug crisis, a "universal precautions" approach including abuse risk assessment and abuse deterrence strategies should be implemented for patients receiving opioids. Increased efforts and research are necessary to enhance the utility of available acute pain assessment tools. Developing more comprehensive tools for patient assessment is the first step in achieving the ultimate goal of effective acute pain management. The objectives of this review are to summarize issues regarding the complexity of acute pain and to provide suggestions for its evaluation.Postgraduate Medicine 07/2014; 126(4):59-72. DOI:10.3810/pgm.2014.07.2784 · 1.54 Impact Factor