FDA Seeks Best Practices for Prescribing Opioids

The Federal Drug Administration has awarded a contract to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to develop evidence-based guidelines for appropriate opioid analgesic prescribing for acute pain resulting from specific conditions or procedures.

In announcing the grant, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said, “As part of this work, NASEM will also scan the landscape of existing opioid analgesic prescribing guidelines, examine how they were developed and any potential gaps in evidence for those guidelines, as well as outline the research needed to generate that evidence.”

Beginning in 2015, a Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment Task Force (SUDPTTF) that MHA convened began to issue guidance materials to help address the commonwealth’s opioid crisis. The first set of guidelines focused on opioid management within hospital emergency departments. The second guidelines, issued in June 2016 focus on provider-specific practices such as enhanced screening of patients, providing alternative non-opioid options, and developing comprehensive pain stewardship programs.

The guidelines were developed taking into account provider requirements included in the new state opioid law (Chapter 52 of the Acts of 2016), and also integrating industry best practices. The task force also worked with provider associations – in particular the Massachusetts Medical Society – to ensure that the guidance conforms to current standards of practice.

The Massachusetts guidelines, along with recent Guidelines for Preventing Opioid Misuse in Hospitals and other resources, are located on the Substance Use Disorder Prevention & Treatment page on PatientCareLink.