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Primary care physician attitudes and perceptions of the impact of FDA-proposed REMS policy on prescription of extended-release and long-acting opioids.

Gregory D. Salinas, Caroline O. Robinson, Maziar Abdolrasulnia

Abstract
With increasing numbers of patients experiencing chronic pain, opioid therapy is becoming more common, leading to increases in concern about issues of abuse, diversion, and misuse. Further, the US Food and Drug Administration recently released a statement notifying sponsors and manufacturers of extended-release and long-acting opioids of the need to develop Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) programs in order to ensure that the benefits of this therapy choice outweigh the potential risks. There is little research on physician opinions concerning opioid-prescribing and education policies. To assess attitudes surrounding new opioid policies, a survey was designed and distributed to primary care physicians in October 2011. Data collected from 201 primary care physicians show that most are not familiar with the REMS requirements proposed by the Food and Drug Administration for extended-release and long-acting opioids; there is no consensus among primary care physicians on the impact of prescribing requirements on patient education and care; and increasing requirements for extended-release and long-acting opioid education may decrease opioid prescribing. Physician attitudes toward increased regulatory oversight of opioid therapy prescriptions should be taken into consideration by groups developing these interventions to ensure that they do not cause undue burden on already busy primary care physicians.

Journal of Pain Research, Volume 2012, Issue 5, October 2012, p363-9

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