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Meeting report published in Journal of Pain Research explores dental pain management and opioid prescribing during and beyond COVID-19 Pandemic

Lucy Price on May 27, 2021 at 9:48 pm

The COVID-19 pandemic has gripped the world for over a year, and in many areas the battle is not yet won and there may be difficult times ahead. However, in the midst of the pandemic, pre-existing health crises have continued to be problematic in healthcare. The opioid epidemic is still ever-present and could be set to worsen due to the psychological impact of social distancing measures. Opioid prescribing has become increasingly challenging in various fields, and dentistry is no exception.

A new meeting report published in the Journal of Pain Research explores the issues faced by dentists when it comes to pain management in the current climate. The virtual symposium titled ‘Pain Management for Dental Medicine in 2021: Opioids, Coronavirus and Beyond’ consists of two Keynote addresses and nine presentations and discussions and was held on 10th April 2021.

Topics covered include ‘Precision Medicine for Orofacial Pain Management’ presented by Dr Christian S Stohler exploring the future of individualized medicine in dental pain management and calls for ‘medical-dental integration’ in order for ‘precision medicine/big data medicine to bear fruit in the clinical practice of orofacial pain.’

‘The Controlled Substance Risk Assessment Program in Dentistry: Development, Barriers and Opportunities’ presented by Dr Ronald J Kulich reflects upon the progress made in reducing opioid prescribing rates in dentistry and the ‘clear recognition’ that non-opioid medications can be equally as effective as opioids in combating dental related pain. However, despite the progress made, Dr Kulich highlights the failure to undertake even brief controlled substance risk assessments in many dental practices and explores the possible reasons for this.

In ‘Opioid Moderatism – Dental Implications’ Dr Michael Schatman, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Pain research, reflects upon the ‘opioid war’ that has gripped the American pain care community and emphasises the need for ‘opioid moderatism’ which he defines as the need for a ‘sane middle ground’ that doesn’t defer to previous patterns of overutilization or progression into a climate of opiophobia and oligoanalgesia. He calls for opioid prescription where they are ‘prescribed judiciously as a last treatment option with prescribers responsible for exercising thorough and consistent risk mitigation’.

‘Opioid Sparing in Children and Adolescents for the Dental Provider’ presented by Dr Cory M Resnick provides the ‘startling statistic’ that ‘future opioid abuse is increased by 33% after a single narcotic exposure during adolescence’ and this includes narcotic exposure from legitimate prescription sources. This highlights the need for improved patient and parental education alongside ‘responsible prescribing practices’. Dr Resnick goes on to discuss a recent prospective study carried out by his group that investigated the ‘true need’ for opioid pain management following third molar extraction.

Read the full meeting report and additional topics covered by visiting: Pain Management for Dental Medicine in 2021: Opioids, Coronavirus and Beyond full meeting report

Categories: General Pain management Dentistry Opioid prescribing

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