White Paper Offers Prescribing Recommendations for Opioids

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A white paper released by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) encourages dental practitioners to prescribe patients ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen instead of opioids to help manage postsurgical pain. The document, “Opioid Prescribing: Acute and Postoperative Pain Management,” was published in response to the nationwide opioid epidemic that claimed 33,091 lives in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Officials with the AAOMS emphasize that pain management decisions should be individualized and made after careful assessment of the level of risk to, and condition of, the patient. Providers are also advised to stay current on public health trends, including potential alternatives to opioids.

When prescribing opioids to manage acute and postsurgical pain, the paper advises clinicians to begin with the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration possible, use the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, and inform patients and their families about the potential risks of opioids. The document also advises against long-acting or extended-release opioids as a starting treatment, reminding practitioners that taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen simultaneously can rival opioids in their analgesic effect.

From Decisions in Dentistry. October 2017;3(10):10.

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