Evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Acute Pain

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Health Services, Coverage, and Access, Public Health, Substance Use and Mental Health, Quality and Patient Safety
Board: Board on Health Care Services

Activity Description

An ad hoc committee under the auspices of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will develop a framework to evaluate existing clinical practice guidelines for prescribing opioids for acute pain indications, recommend indications for which new evidence-based guidelines should be developed, and recommend a future research agenda to inform and enable specialty organizations to develop and disseminate evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for prescribing opioids to treat acute pain indications.

In developing its report, the committee will:

  • Identify existing opioid prescribing guidelines for acute pain indications;
  • Identify a list of specific medical procedures and conditions associated with acute pain  (i.e., develop a prioritized list not to exceed 50) for which opioids are commonly prescribed and for which evidenced-based clinical practice guidelines would thus help inform prescribing practices;
  • Develop a framework for evaluating the evidence base underpinning clinical practice guidelines for opioid prescribing, to create a threshold level of evidence to support guidelines and ensure consistency among guidelines;
  • Evaluate existing opioid prescribing guidelines for acute pain using this framework to identify specific indications for which prescribing guidelines are not sufficiently evidence-based; and
  • Develop a prioritized research agenda, by specific medical procedure or condition (not to exceed 10 of each surgical procedure or medical condition) for which no opioid prescribing guidelines exist or for which more evidence is required to support existing guidelines, to enable the development and availability of comprehensive evidence-based opioid prescribing guidelines for acute pain.  

In developing its evaluation framework, the committee will consider the standards established in the 2011 IOM report, Clinical Practice Guidelines We Can Trust. The committee will produce recommendations for how to generate easily accessible, evidence-based, trustworthy clinical practice guidelines for effectively managing acute pain with opioid drugs for specific medical procedures and conditions that FDA could use as a reference in its publicly available materials.

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