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FDA takes steps to advance guidelines for prescribing opioids

FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced that the agency has awarded a contract to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to help advance the development of evidence-based guidelines for appropriate opioid analgesic prescribing for acute pain resulting from specific conditions or procedures.

"The primary scope of this work is to understand what evidence is needed to ensure that all current and future clinical practice guidelines for opioid analgesic prescribing are sufficient, and what research is needed to generate that evidence in a practical and feasible manner. We’ve contracted with NASEM to conduct a consensus study and issue a report on its findings. This work will begin with an identification and prioritization of procedures and conditions associated with acute pain for which opioid analgesics are commonly prescribed and where evidence-based clinical practice guidelines would help inform prescribing practices," Gottlieb said, in the statement.

In his statement Gottlieb pointed out that many people who become addicted to opioids will first be exposed to these drugs through a lawfully prescribed medication. Unfortunately, the fact remains that there are still too many prescriptions being written for opioids. And too many prescriptions are written for longer durations of use than are appropriate for the medical need being addressed.”

NASEM also will look at the landscape of existing opioid analgesic prescribing guidelines, examine how they were developed and any potential gaps in evidence for those guidelines, as well as outline the research needed to generate that evidence. Additionally, NASEM will hold a series of meetings and public workshops to engage a broad range of stakeholders who can contribute expert knowledge on existing guidelines and on emerging evidence or specific policy issues related to the development and availability of opioid analgesic prescribing guidelines based on their specialties.
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