A Case-Based Approach to Chronic Pain and Long-Term Opioid Therapy– Primary care physicians are skilled at managing comorbidities in their patients, yet they face a dilemma when it comes to managing chronic pain because the pharmacologic treatment of choice, opioid analgesics, are controlled drugs. Given the privileged nature of their relationship with patients, primary care physicians should feel secure in providing appropriate analgesia for patients with chronic pain. Concerns regarding potential abuse should not impede appropriate medical use of opioids. Many physicians reduce the risks of opioid prescribing, including the risk to licensure, by simply not treating patients in pain, or by denying them controlled substances. This is understandable yet lamentable conduct considering the widespread under-treatment of pain. A well-informed primary care provider who is familiar with the causes of and contributing factors that influence pain can provide helpful medicines and prescribe other appropriate treatments. Pain care by the primary provider can improve the lives of a majo rity of chronic pain sufferers and reduce the economic burden to society.
Distinguish the statistics regarding legitimate opioid prescription abuse from what physicians report as their belief.
Discuss how to properly educate patients to avoid unintended diversion of their prescription medication (opioids), including physicians as patients to practice these standards within their own homes.
Discuss implementing plans to manage the patient throughout their course of treatment.
Recognize opioid aberrant behaviors, attempted diversion, and impact of patient history on patient selection.
Differentiate between addiction, abuse, misuse and increased tolerance.
2.0 Free CEUs for Nurse Practitioners which includes 2.0 Free Pharmacology Hours