Crisis=Opportunity: Reducing Medication Burden While Managing Chronic Pain

Author: Jennifer M. Hah, Ravi Prasad

Per the department of Health and Human Services, opioid related overdose deaths have increased almost 400% over the last 18 years. This shift has yielded heightened scrutiny of prescribing practices, and opioids have subsequently fallen out of favor as a first-line treatment for chronic pain. In this changing landscape of pain care, it is more important than ever for clinicians to identify treatment pathways that will maximize patient outcomes while minimizing medication load. This presentation will review current literature related to use of opioids and medical challenges associated with weaning individuals off this class of drug. The role of evidence based behavioral treatment modalities known to result in improvement in physical and emotional functioning will be discussed in detail, including their use in the context of opioid weaning. The terms dependence, abuse, tolerance, and addiction are often used interchangeably when discussing opioid medication; however, use of nomenclature in this fashion is erroneous. The differences between these words will be explained and the implications for treatment discussed. Clinical pathways that often lead to medication escalation will be identified. The role of behavioral interventions for pain treatment and the literature supporting their use will be reviewed, including data from an interdisciplinary clinical program which provides patients such education while concurrently reducing opioid medication. (Recorded at PAINWeek 2017)

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