Medicare Releases Guide for Patients on Safer Use of Opioid Pain Medication
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have released Safer Use of Opioid Pain Medication, a guide for Medicare patients. The guide outlines medication safety checks at the pharmacy, explaining that Medicare Part D plans and pharmacists routinely check to make sure the prescription and dosage are correct when filling opioid prescriptions and that there are no interactions with other medications the patient is taking. The guide also outlines Medicare’s drug management programs, which are in place to help people at risk for prescription drug abuse.

National Cancer Institute Updates PDQ Health Summary on Cancer Pain
The National Cancer Institute has updated its PDQ Summary on cancer pain. The PDQ discusses the prevalence and causes of cancer pain, pain assessment, pharmacological therapies for pain control, modalities for pain control, general approaches to pain treatment, and more. This information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the pathophysiology and treatment of pain, and it is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians in the care of their patients.

Clinical Trial Recruiting Now to Compare Perioperative Outcomes in Pain Control
A clinical trial in San Diego, California is currently recruiting 100 adult patients found to have an orthopaedic injury requiring surgery. Patients who consent to study participation will be randomized to receive either the multimodal pain management protocol or standard oral hydrocodone-acetaminophen for post-operative pain management. Data on opioid usage, pain control, and functional status will be collected for each participant. After 3 years of data collection, investigators will analyze this data to provide further insight in determining appropriateness of pain regimens that reduce the overall opioid consumption.

Congress has passed the NOPAIN Act in a direct push to address outdated federal reimbursement policies in an effort to combat the opioid crisis through increased utilization of non-opioid pain management approaches.

The HEAL Initiative seeks to fund the development of therapies and technologies directed at enhanced pain management. This funding opportunity is focused on the development of new non-addictive medications and devices and objective pain measurement and on new screening tools and models focused specifically on pain and development of pain therapies. Applications will be accepted through April 2025.

State-Level Policy Action on Multimodal Pain Care

You may have seen our spotlight last month on Dr. Dave Nagel, elected as a freshman state representative in NH.  Each new representative gets to sponsor a bill and his choice was one on multimodal pain management.  

New Hampshire House Bill 303 had a public hearing on January 18. Co-sponsor, Rep. Nagel, has been collaborating with many groups, including the NH Medical Society, NH Chiropractic Association, and NH Acupuncture Association.  Reach out if you’re interested in being more active in your own state!

Read: SPOTLIGHT: Dr. Dave Nagel Talks Pain, Advocacy, and Spurring Change as a Newly Elected Representative