In an environment where we cringe each time we see one more article on opioid use, it’s easy to forget the primary reason these medications were developed …. pain management in terminal illness and at end of life. David DePaolo’s recent post was both powerful and informative. He contrasts the peace that opioids can bring for those who are at the end of their fight with disease and pain against the abuse of these medications by those who put financial gain above appropriate care. Please take a moment to read this great post, and if you are angered by what physician dispensing is doing in workers’ compensation, go to www.supportprop.org (Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing) and become a subscriber.
I believe that most physicians in our industry strive daily to do what is in the best interest of their patients. When we see studies such as this, I hope we will be motivated to take action, while reminding ourselves that these are the outliers.
To those who may not know, PROP (Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing) http://www.supportprop.org/ is an organization comprised of practicing physicians whose mission is “to reduce morbidity and mortality resulting from prescribing of opioids, and to promote cautious, safe and responsible opioid prescribing practices.” I follow PROP regularly and use many of their resources to educate my staff on opioid use as it relates to long term prescribing and the MSA.
As a PROP follower, I recently received the email below asking for my support. I responded immediately and am forwarding to each of you in the hope that you will do the same.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
As you may know, PROP filed a request to FDA for changes to opioid labels. Specifically, we asked them to add a suggested duration of use, a suggested upper dose and to limit (on-label) use to severe pain. You can read about this here: http://supportprop.org/advocacy/index.html.
If FDA implements our request, opioid manufacturers will be prohibited from advertising long-term use of opioids for chronic non-cancer pain and the medical community will be informed that this practice has not been proven safe and effective. (However, clinicians will still be permitted to prescribe long-term opioids). We believe that this will help reduce overprescribing of opioids. And since it’s overprescribing that’s harming pain patients and fueling the opioid addiction epidemic, the label change could help bring this unprecedented public health crisis under control.
FDA is seeking public comment about the Petition. Thus far, they have received about 200 comments supporting the petition and 130 opposed to the petition. Not surprisingly, industry-funded pain groups (and pain patients misled to believe that this is an effort to ban opioids) have weighed in against the Petition.
A couple of sentences is all you need. Please make sure to state clearly in the first or second sentence that you support the petition.
For example, you can write:
I support this petition. Drug companies should not be permitted to advertise long-term and high dose opioids for moderate chronic pain because this treatment has not been proven safe and effective. The medical community should be informed by a revised label that risks may outweigh benefits when opioids are prescribed long-term.
Please try to do this ASAP. As soon as FDA takes an action on the Petition (which could be very soon), they will close the comment period.