The dangerous misuse of prescription opioids and drugs like heroin has been much in the news, but millions of patients continue to suffer both acute and chronic pain. For many, prescription opioids play a vital role in alleviating that pain. How can health care providers most effectively and safely use opioids in the treatment and management of chronic pain? Some answers can be found in a CE article in the July issue of AJN: “Appropriate Use of Opioids in Managing Chronic Pain.”
Related questions on opioids and chronic pain addressed in the article include:
- What is the best way to assess chronic pain patients?
- Which patients—for example the elderly, those with compromised renal or hepatic function, those with a history of substance abuse—may require special considerations when opioids are prescribed?
- Which opioid medication or medications, if any, should you select for your patient?
- And what are the legal and practical challenges to prescribing opioids?
Conscientious nurses will find this article a helpful summary of the main issues at stake and the main recommendations found in current guidelines. The article is free and a possible source of three continuing education contact hours.
Illustration caption: Painted by Martin Edwards as part of the Paint Your Pain program initiated by the Pain Management Center at Overlook Medical Center, Atlantic Health System, Summit, NJ. For artwork of other patients in the program, click here.