The difficult choices: Managing chronic pain while avoiding opioid abuse

Rather than being considered a miracle pill that magically takes away pain, prescription opioids are increasingly being seen as a precursor to heroin addiction and the cause of potentially deadly overdoses themselves. However, select patients do still benefit from the use of opioids in the management of chronic pain. The trick, for any prescriber, is to identify those patients who are appropriate for opioid management and to provide that therapy safely.

The first step, says Christopher J. Burnett, MD, an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the Texas A&M College of Medicine and director of the Baylor Scott & White Health’s Temple Pain Clinic, is to follow the guidelines the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released last year. “The CDC guidelines, which outline when to prescribe these drugs and provide guidance for how to do so safely, are a good starting point for providers caring for chronic pain patients,” Burnett said.

Full story of managing chronic pain and opioid abuse at Science Daily

New Jersey Emergency Room Tries Treating Most Patients Without Opioids

A hospital emergency room in New Jersey has started a program that treats most patients without opioids before considering using them. In the first two months, 75 percent of the 300 patients have gone through the program did not need opioids, according to the Associated Press.

The Alternatives to Opiates program is being implemented in New Jersey’s busiest emergency room at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson. Patients with cancer or those with chronic pain who are already dependent on opioids are not included in the program, according to Mark Rosenberg, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at St. Joseph’s.

The program is designed for patients with ailments such as kidney stones, acute low back pain, broken bones, acute headache and migraine pain, according to a  hospital news release. It uses targeted non-opioid medications, trigger point injections, nitrous oxide, and ultrasound-guided nerve blocks to treat pain.

Full story of emergency room treating patients with opioids at Science Daily

Breaking Cycle of Pain and Stress in Chronic Pain Patients Dependent on Opioids

Doctors at Stanford University are trying to help people dependent on opioid painkillers break the vicious cycle in which physical pain and emotional distress exacerbate one another.

Through an intensive week-long inpatient program that combines physical and occupational therapy, lifestyle and behavioral modifications and medication, patients have experienced significant improvements in pain levels, emotional functioning and physical activity, according to Ravi Prasad, PhD, Assistant Chief of Stanford’s Division of Pain Medicine.

Dr. Prasad will be speaking about the program and its results at the upcoming American Psychological Association meeting in Toronto.

Full story of chronic pain patients dependent on opioids at drugfree.org

Study: Counseling Via Telephone Could Cut Prescription Painkiller Use

A new study finds people with chronic pain who received counseling from a nurse over the phone were able to reduce their dose of pain medication. The researchers say the findings suggest “telecare” could reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse and accidental overdoses.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association included 250 veterans with chronic pain. Half of the veterans received traditional pain care from their primary physician, and half received counseling from nurses via telephone and internet,NBC Los Angeles reports. The nurses’ goal was to reduce patients’ pain medication doses, and in some cases to have them stop taking painkillers altogether, the article notes.

Telecare consisted of automated symptom monitoring and pain management counseling by a nurse care manager. Patients in the telecare group received interactive voice-recorded phone calls or online messages asking them about their pain, their reaction to medication and whether they wanted to speak with a nurse. They met with the nurse once in person, and then received phone counseling from the nurse throughout the study.

Full story of telephone counseling at drugfree.org

New Online CEU Courses – Quantum Units Education

NEW QUANTUM LOGOQuantum Units Education has added several new online CEU Courses to their curriculum

Effective Communication for Program Success

This course covers the most effective way to make requests and offers so others know exactly what you are asking for, how people can respond to requests in ways that create strong commitments, and how people can manage commitments so that work gets done efficiently. By using the language and process offered in this course individuals and organizations can increase both program success and personal well-being.

Cultural Elements in Treating Addiction in Latino Populations

This course is based upon a guide that was written for counselors treating clients from Latino cultures. It’s purpose is to help counselors and therapists improve their skills in response to treatment challenges working with Latinos. The approach taken is to highlight key similarities and differences in cultural beliefs, attitudes and practices commonly seen among Latino clients.

Managing Chronic Pain in Substance Abusing Clients

Chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) is common in the general population as well as in people who have substance use disorder (SUD). This course is directed at primary care providers who treat or are likely to treat adults patients with or in recovery from SUDs who present with chronic noncancer pain (CNCP).

Measuring Employee Performance

Guidelines are provided for writing performance elements and standards and maximizing the capability of performance plans for focusing employee efforts on achieving organizational and group goals.

For these new course and many more, visit Quantum Units Education

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education