SHM’s new recommendations to improve opioid prescribing for acute, noncancer pain in hospitalized adults will be the focus of Monday (April 9) morning’s session, “Opioids: What Now?”
Many patients who wind up on opioids for chronic pain start on the medications in an acute pain setting, said presenter Shoshana J. Herzig, MD, MPH, director of hospital medicine research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, both in Boston.
“Our prescribing patterns in the setting of acute pain meaningfully impact downstream outcomes and prescribing practices,” she said. “The degree of importance related to this topic often is underestimated by hospitalists, because we think of it as a more straightforward situation – prescribing for acute pain. In reality, there are nuances to it, and we have data to show that it’s not done well a lot of the time. It’s a big problem.”
During the session, “we’re going to do a case-based review that highlights the main points of the SHM consensus statement, just published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine [April issue],” Dr. Herzig said. She led the working group that developed the consensus statement. It features 16 suggestions to help hospital-based physicians appropriately employ opioids as part of their acute pain management strategies.
The copresenter will be Teryl K. Nuckols, MD, FHM, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the division of internal medicine and associate professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles. Dr. Nuckols was senior author of the JHM articles.
The presentation will assess the state of opioid prescribing in hospitalized patients and the challenges to acute pain management in hospitalized adults and explain how to improve prescribing practices to prevent opioid-related adverse events, opioid-use disorder, and long-term opioid use. Dr. Herzig and Dr. Nuckols will discuss how their group developed the new consensus statement by culling the key points from other physician group guidelines and present several case studies for interactive discussion to showcase the consensus statement suggestions. They also will go over topics in need of future research.
“We hope that attending the session and reading over the consensus statement will help to improve the appropriateness as well as the safety of opioid prescribing in the setting of acute pain in the hospital and help physicians recognize common pitfalls,” Dr. Herzig said. These include not remembering to combine opioids with nonopioid-based pharmacologic therapy; inappropriately continuing a patient on intravenous opioids when oral opioids, which have a lower risk of adverse outcomes, would suffice; and being able to identify patients at increased risk for opioid-related adverse events for whom a dose reduction or increased monitoring may be warranted.