AAOMS Issues Opioid Prescribing Recommendations

In response to the nationwide opioid epidemic, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) released prescribing recommendations today that urge ibuprofen – rather than opioids – to be used as a first-line therapy to manage a patient’s acute and post-surgical pain.

Recognizing the value and importance of the doctor-patient relationship, the AAOMS White Paper “Opioid Prescribing: Acute and Postoperative Pain Management” stresses that practitioners should be allowed to make individualized pain management decisions for their patients – including drug types, dosages and treatment durations.

If opioids are considered, AAOMS recommends doctors begin with the lowest possible effective dose for the shortest duration possible. Long-acting or extended-release opioids should be avoided as a starting treatment, the document advises. As an alternative, doctors are reminded that ibuprofen and acetaminophen – taken simultaneously – can rival opioids in their analgesic effect.

“Patient safety is the top priority of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons,” said AAOMS President Douglas W. Fain, DDS, MD, FACS. “Therefore, AAOMS has taken a leadership role in combatting the opioid epidemic afflicting this country. It is crucial for our doctors to responsibly prescribe based on individual patient needs and to use non-opioids when appropriate.”

When using opioids to manage acute and post-surgical pain, it is recommended that doctors prescribe them safely and expertly, use the state’s prescription-drug monitoring program, and inform patients and their families about opioids’ potential risks as well as safe use, storage and disposal. Doctors also should remain aware of the most recent public health trends, including potential alternatives to opioids, the document advises.

The white paper recommendations are the work of a Special Committee on Opioid Prescribing appointed by the AAOMS Board of Trustees this spring.

“While oral and maxillofacial surgeons should ultimately make all final prescribing decisions, the recommendations in this AAOMS White Paper are intended to provide direction and serve as a supportive resource,” the document states.

Among recommendations:

  • Prescribe…

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