Dr. Katherine Galluzzi speaks at OMED 2015. Photo credit: American Osteopathic Association
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently held a public workshop to obtain input on issues and challenges associated with federal efforts to train prescribers on pain management and the safe use of opioids.
The workshop drew insight from a variety of stakeholders on how best to ensure that prescribers and other health care providers directly involved in the management or support of patients with pain receive training in pain management and the safe use of opioids.
Katherine Galluzzi, DO, professor and chair, geriatrics, attended the workshop on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, and spoke on a panel of health professionals about training and education related to prescribing opioids for chronic pain. She called pain “a universal experience,” and stressed the need for education as a way to develop and implement best practices, and to gain a better understanding of the myriad therapies available for managing pain. But she also called for a nuanced approach.
“Not every discipline requires the same types of education,” she said. “There is a minimum level of competency, but it has to be specific to physicians, physician assistants, nurses and psychologists.”
Dr. Galluzzi noted that many doctors no longer want to prescribe c-2 medications—which include opioids—because there can be a higher potential for abuse, and physicians simply don’t want to take on that risk. As a geriatrician, she lamented the effect it could have on her patient base.
“Instead of limiting the conversation on prescriber education to only opioids, education efforts should also inform providers and patients alike of the non-opioid and non-pharmacological modalities available to help alleviate pain, whether prescribed as an opioid alternative, or in concert with it. This is especially urgent as the population of senior citizens is the largest, most rapidly growing population,” she said. “Seniors are the ones who will be having significant, chronic, high-impact pain.”
Dr. Galluzzi is a member of the content development team for the Collaboration for REMS Education (CO*RE), a consortium that works to create, update and present curriculum modules that address the FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA) opioid pain medication.
She has also served on a workgroup established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was tasked with reviewing that agency’s proposed opioid prescribing guidelines.
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