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PM R. 2015 Nov;7(11 Suppl):S236-S247. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2015.08.011.

Current Regulations Related to Opioid Prescribing.

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PRA Health Sciences, 3838 South 700 East, Suite 202, Salt Lake City, UT 84106.
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.


It is the responsibility of medical professionals to do all that is possible to safely alleviate pain. Opioids are frequently prescribed for pain but are associated with the potential for misuse, addiction, diversion, and overdose mortality, and thus they are strictly regulated. To adhere to legitimate practice standards, physicians and other health care providers who prescribe opioids for pain, particularly on a long-term basis, need current information on federal and state laws, treatment guidelines, and regulatory actions aimed at reducing opioid-related harm. The number of opioid-prescribing policies is increasing as federal and state governments increase scrutiny to alleviate opioid-related problems in society. Failure to adequately comply with opioid-prescribing laws and policies may put a prescriber at risk for legal or regulatory sanctions. Necessary actions include thorough documentation of prescribing decisions and assessment and follow-up of patient risk for opioid misuse or addiction. Tools to check for patient adherence to the prescribed regimen include prescription monitoring databases and urine drug screening. This article presents an overview of the legal and regulatory framework surrounding controlled substances law. It further discusses recent actions at the federal and state level to prevent opioid-related harm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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