As an important part of our mission at Massachusetts General Hospital, we help health care providers offer their patients safe, responsible and compassionate pain management while innovating new techniques and treatments for substance use disorders.
New Mass General Guidelines for Responsible and Safe Opioid Prescriptions
The Mass General/Massachusetts General Physicians Organization (MGPO) Opioid Task Force recently released new guidelines offering best practices for pain treatment and management in a variety of health care settings.
The guidelines include approaches for acute, chronic and pediatric pain and help ensure that clinicians prescribe opioids in compliance with Massachusetts’ recent legislation to regulate opioids, the “Act Relative to Substance Use, Treatment, Education and Prevention.”
The guidelines include the following recommendations:
- Opioids should only be prescribed when severe pain is not treatable by other methods
- When treating acute pain, prescribe only the amount of medication needed
- Utilize an approved screening tool to determine risk factors for patients who may be susceptible to problems with opioids
- Check the Massachusetts Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) for each prescription
- Counsel patients to understand the possible risks of opioid treatment
- Communicate that opioids assist in pain management, but may not resolve pain
- Regularly observe and re-evaluate patients with chronic pain receiving long-term opioids
- Prescribe nasal naloxone for patients who may be in danger of overdosing
Across Mass General, clinical champions in each department have been selected for the hospital-wide implementation of the guidelines.