Opioid Prescribing Guidelines For Children Introduced By Task Force
Pennsylvania’s Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine visited the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) last week to present new opioid prescribing guidelines for minors.
The new guidelines recommend that opioids should only be given to children and teens for moderate to severe pain, and at the lowest effective dose. Also, short-acting opioids should be tried first, and physicians should only prescribe as many pills as necessary to treat the patient throughout the duration of their symptoms.
The recommendations also state that some medications, such as codeine and tramadol, should never be prescribed to minors. Additionally, they note that a Pennsylvania state law says that children, in general, cannot be given over a week’s supply of opioid painkillers.
Dr. Levin stated that this is part of a greater effort to battle Pennsylvania’s ongoing opioid epidemic:
“Opioids, although necessary medicines, have to be used by health care professionals much more carefully, and more judiciously. That is the change in the medical paradigm that’s occurring now.”
The guidelines were created by the Safe and Effective Prescribing Practices Task Force, which includes state agencies, medical associations, physicians, and members of the public.
Doug Hoock, CHOP’s chief operating officer, said that the collaboration produced “a set of common-sense procedures that will address this current crisis” and help protect children for generations.
The guidelines, however, so allow for a doctor’s judgment in customizing an appropriate care plan to meet the patient’s individual needs, according to F. Wickham Kraemer, director of the Acute and Chronic Pain Management Program at CHOP.
The new guidelines also include pain management approaches that do not use opioids or other drugs, such as psychotherapy. The recommendations state that some types of psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, have shown to be effective in relieving pain.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology