An Enhanced Strategy to Fight Opioid Addiction

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its final Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to address the opioid crisis. Included in this plan are measures to improve communication with health care consumers and providers about the serious risks associated with opioid pain medications.

Extended-release and long-acting opioid analgesics have been subject to an REMS since 2012. This expanded version also applies to immediate-release opioid analgesics used in outpatient settings. For the first time, it requires training be made available not just for prescribers but for other health care providers involved in pain management — nurses and pharmacists, for example — and includes information about alternatives to opioids.

Although federal law doesn’t require prescribers or other providers to take the training provided through the new REMS prior to prescribing opioid pain relievers, the FDA’s Opioid Policy Steering Committee is trying to determine if there are circumstance where these education efforts should be mandatory, and how the agency could attain this goal, if needed.

Sourced from: FDA