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ADA wants federal agencies to provide best practices for managing acute pain

May 23, 2018

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — There's a difference between managing the pain that stems from a root canal and the pain that often accompanies long-term illness or disease.

That was the message in the Association's May 22 letter to the federal Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force, whose inaugural meeting is May 30-31 in Washington.

"Our main criticism of the federal response to the opioid crisis is that federal agencies have not sufficiently addressed best practices for managing acute pain versus chronic pain," ADA President Joseph P. Crowley and Executive Director Kathleen T. O'Loughlin wrote to Vanila M. Singh, M.D. task force chair.

"Federal efforts have also not sufficiently addressed best practices for managing postoperative dental pain, which is more nuanced than managing pain in medical settings," noted Drs. Crowley and O'Loughlin.

The ADA highlighted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain and Food and Drug Administration's Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy for Extended Release and Long-Acting Opioid Analgesics as examples of federal agencies only addressing chronic pain.

"While long-acting opioids can be useful in managing chronic pain, there is rarely, if ever, a need to manage chronic pain following a one-time dental surgery," Drs. Crowley and O'Loughlin wrote.

Authorized by a 2016 law, the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force was created to propose updates to best practices and issue recommendations to address gaps or inconsistencies for managing chronic and acute pain.

For more information, visit ADA.org/opioids.