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Medical News & Perspectives
March 25, 2009

Efforts Aim to Curb Opioid Deaths, Injuries

JAMA. 2009;301(12):1213-1215. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.367

Professional organizations and government agencies are seeking to balance the growing need for pain management with increasing concerns about serious injuries and deaths associated with the use of opioid pain medications.

In February, a multidisciplinary panel of experts on pain management from the American Pain Society and the American Academy of Pain Medicine published a clinical practice guideline on the use of opioid medications to treat chronic noncancer pain. The guideline provides recommendations for selecting patients and managing their care, aimed at reducing the risk of drug misuse while ensuring good pain management. The same week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would be requiring the makers of transdermal and extended-release opioid products to develop a comprehensive plan for reducing serious injuries and deaths linked to improper use of such products. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also have launched a research initiative to assess the impact of efforts to curb deaths and injuries related to medication misuse, particularly improper use of opioids.

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