Opioid primer: How to safely prescribe to patients

By | March 27, 2017

The abuse and misuse of opioid pain relievers has become an epidemic the government and medical professionals are paying close attention to.

OpioidsSince 1999, opioid prescriptions have quadrupled, and over 183,000 people have died from prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The federal government, organized dentistry and state agencies are trying to educate on the dangers of opioid abuse and what the prescribers of these medications can do to minimize the harm of the drugs.

Dentistry plays a big role in the education, since many people’s first experiences with an opioid is after an extraction or having their third molars removed, said Regina LaBelle, former chief of staff at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

“The ADA has done a great job at talking to dentists about the important role they play,” Ms. LaBelle said. “When the opioid issue really came to the forefront, it was really stressed that dentists and medical practitioners had to be really careful how much they prescribe, to whom they prescribe and when they prescribe.”

The ADA House of Delegates passed, in October 2016, Resolution 64H-2016 Statement on the Use of Opioids in the Treatment of Dental Pain, which includes recommendations for dentists. Some highlights include:

• Conduct a medical and dental history to determine current medications, potential drug interactions and history of substance abuse.
• Register with and use the state prescription drug monitoring program.
• Consider nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics as the first-line therapy for acute pain management.
• Consider coordinating with other treating doctors, including pain specialists, when prescribing opioids for pain management.

For more information, visit ADA.org/opioids. To attend a webinar titled “How to Discuss Safe Use, Storage and Disposal of Medicines, Including Opioids With Your Dental Patients” on March 29 from 2-3 p.m. Central time, register at https://cc.readytalk.com/r/

6 thoughts on “Opioid primer: How to safely prescribe to patients

  1. AZ Cosmetic and Family Dentistry

    The growing opioid epidemic throughout the United States is quite alarming, and can be found in the most unlikely areas. Practitioners should take care when prescribing medication to patients.

  2. Camarillo Smiles

    Unfortunately, opioid usage in the US has increased manyfold, and dentists and physicians alike should be careful when prescribing, letting the patient know and be educated on opioid use.

  3. VanderLugt & Mulder Dental

    Very informational and this is something that medical practitioners in all fields should be aware of. Hopefully this issue continues to make the news so that more dentists can learn and better understand the dangers of opioid addiction and the how they can help their patients avoid them.


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