By Holly Little, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, and Bethany Bedford, PharmD, BCACP, CPE, Principal, Clinical Advisor New Markets and Programs
Constructed for the busy clinician, the PAINWeekEnd Regional Conference Series is a precursor to the renowned PAINWeek conference and brings certified medical education to healthcare professionals in all disciplines with an interest in pain management. As practitioners, we know how difficult it is to stay apprised of the latest information on evolving guidelines, risk management, changing reimbursement scenarios, and more. This conference was created to streamline the flow of information in this constantly changing environment, and we jumped at the opportunity to participate in the Nashville meeting.
Taking place the first weekend in June, the Nashville meeting featured courses on specific syndromes and regions of pain, legal advice on risk mitigation, and specific medications. However, all of the presentations highlighted strategies for mitigating pain, minimizing abuse, utilizing alternative treatment modalities, and educating attendees on the medications available to treat opioid use disorder (OUD).
As a pain-focused conference, it was a welcome surprise to find that much of the information presented reflected the importance of medication assisted treatment (or medication for OUD). We were particularly excited to hear that forty-seven states now allow Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Physician Assistants (PA) to prescribe buprenorphine to treat OUD- 25 require physician oversight and 22 allow autonomous prescribing. This is a huge feat and we hope to see similar progress in the remaining three states that still regulate buprenorphine prescribing to expressly prohibit prescribing by NPs or PAs. Access to treatment is a major barrier for many patients in need, and limiting buprenorphine prescribing for healthcare practitioners willing to complete the training seems counterproductive. Expanding prescriptive authority of buprenorphine to these clinicians will create additional opportunities to get patients into treatment, particularly in rural areas.
There was also discussion of abuse-deterrent formulations of opioid medications in clinical practice. In a thoughtful and humorous presentation titled “Manage Pain and Minimize Misuse/Abuse,” Dr. Jeffrey Fudin highlighted the potential for improving the treatment of chronic pain by using tools at our disposal. He also emphasized the importance of comprehensive and multimodal treatment alongside patient engagement, education, and communication.
At axialHealthcare, we’re committed to improving those suffering from OUD through innovative, patient-centric solutions. We continually strive to understand the impact current treatments and policies have on patient care, and we truly value the unique insights shared by distinguished colleagues in our field such as those at PAINWeekEnd.