By John Burke
A few months ago, I was contacted by a local Cincinnati oral surgeon asking if we could meet. He wanted to share his ideas and efforts for reducing the prescribing of opiates. Over the years, I have become skeptical of these kinds of calls, as the proposed ideas usually turn out to be impractical and, frankly, a waste of time. However, this surgeon had previously met with a pharmacist of whom I think very highly, so I consented.
I soon learned from the surgeon that his idea was a seemingly well-tested, acute pain protocol—one that could change the role and priority of opiates for acute pain. Furthermore, he had partnered with a local orthopedic surgeon with whom he plans on issuing 32,000-plus fewer opiate dosage units in 2016 versus 2015. (The 2 surgeons indicate that 13 months of ongoing clinical trials demonstrate they have an opiate prescription issuance rate that is 70% less than that of their peers.) In addition to the surgeons indicating superior multimodal pain control by emphasizing ibuprofen and acetaminophen, their PainPack Protocol educates every patient about proper opiate disposal. Their goal is to provide effective multimodal acute pain control, presented in a way that patients can follow, and to reduce diversion by leaving patients with far fewer opiates in their medicine cabinets! [Read more…]