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FDA Public Health Advisory. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; December 21, 2007.
This Food and Drug Administration public health advisory alerts health care professionals, patients, and their caregivers to the possibility for overdoses of fentanyl in patients using fentanyl skin patches for pain control.
FDA Public Health Advisory [US Food and Drug Administration Web site]. March 11, 2008.
This announcement alerts parents and health care professionals about the potentially fatal dangers of Tussionex Pennkinetic Extended-Release Suspension, a prescription cough medicine that should not be used in children younger than 6 years.
Rockville, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; 2013.
To protect children and pets from accidental exposure to prescription medications, this consumer alert outlines the dangers of inappropriate storage and disposal of medication skin patches.
FDA requiring color changes to Duragesic (fentanyl) pain patches to aid safety―emphasizing that accidental exposure to used patches can cause death.
MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; September 23, 2013.
This announcement explains a label change to a medication patch intended to reduce risk of accidental exposure.
Web Resource > Multi-use Website
This collaborative venture seeks to improve opioid medication safety by providing information to patients, providers, and pharmacists.
Hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets, phenobarbital tablets by Qualitest: recall—incorrect package labeling.
MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; February 7, 2011.
This announcement reports the recall of two products that may have been mislabeled.
Web Resource > Government Resource
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hoffman J. New York Times. June 10, 2016.
Overprescribing of opioids for pain management contributes to the growing crisis involving opioid-related harm. This newspaper article reports on one hospital's efforts to avoid opioid use for patients presenting to the emergency department with pain. Alternative treatments included nonnarcotic infusions, nitrous oxide, music therapy, and holistic techniques.
William Brangham. PBS News Hour. September 29, 2017.
Tools/Toolkit > Government Resource
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The opioid crisis is a persisting patient safety problem. One approach to prevent misuse of opioids is to raise awareness of the addictive nature of the medication. This national campaign enlists communities and individual clinicians to provide patient education to address the opioid epidemic. The website offers videos and other resources to assist community-level efforts to reduce risk for opioid addiction.
Special or Theme Issue
Benzon HT, Anderson TA, eds. Anesth Analg. 2017;125:1427-1778.
Anesthesiologists provide pain management services in both perioperative and inpatient settings. Articles in this special issue review factors that contribute to the opioid epidemic and how anesthesiologists have a role in developing solutions. Topics covered include prescription monitoring, cancer care, and medicolegal concerns of pain medication management.
Daley J. Colorado Public Radio. February 23, 2018.
Innovations in the prescribing of opioids in the emergency department are needed to change practice and help address the opioid crisis. This news article reports the results of a 10-hospital pilot program, the Colorado Opioid Safety Collaborative, which used alternative pain control approaches to reduce opioid prescriptions by an average of 36%. The program builds on multidisciplinary teamwork to modify pain management in the emergency department. An Annual Perspective highlighted opioid misuse as a patient safety challenge.
Journal Article > Study
Jalal H, Buchanich JM, Roberts MS, Balmert LC, Zhang K, Burke DS. Science. 2018;361:1184.
Opioid overdose deaths remain a threat to patient safety. Information about how overdose deaths are nationally distributed is critical to inform prevention efforts. This robust analysis examined all drug overdose deaths in the United States over a 38-year period. Drug overdoses began increasing exponentially long before the opioid prescribing boom in the mid-1990s and continue to rise in this way. Demographically distinct subepidemics of prescription opioid, synthetic opioid, and stimulant use all contribute to drug overdose deaths as a whole. The authors speculate about what factors other than opioid prescribing might drive escalating substance use-related deaths. An Annual Perspective and a PSNet perspective provide further insights into how safety efforts can reduce opioid-related harm.
FDA identifies harm reported from sudden discontinuation of opioid pain medicines and requires label changes to guide prescribers on gradual, individualized tapering.
Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; April 9, 2019.
Efforts to address the opioid epidemic range from regulation to changes in pain management. This safety announcement raises awareness of potential harms associated with rapidly decreasing the dose of or discontinuing opioids for patients who may be physically dependent on the medication. It also announces a requirement regarding changes to prescribing information for opioids to provide expanded guidance on how to safely taper doses. Health care providers should discuss tapering plans with patients and provide ongoing monitoring and support.
Dickson EJ. Rolling Stone. March 9, 2019.
Unintended consequences of restrictions enacted to combat the opioid crisis are a concern for patients and prescribers. This magazine article reports on an effort to raise awareness of the potential for patient harm due to lack of legitimate access to opioids for chronic pain as a result of the 2016 CDC opioid prescribing guidelines.
Appleby J, Lucas E. Kaiser Health News. June 21, 2019.