ASCO releases new guideline on chronic pain management in adult cancer survivors

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New guidelines promote use of both nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic treatments

With the number of cancer survivors increasing—almost 14 million in the United States—the prevalence of those patients experiencing pain has been reported as high as 40%. To address this issue, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has developed a practice guideline for managing adult cancer survivor pain.

“What I like most is that the authors talk about more than just opioids—to jump straight to opioids may not be the most effective, depending on the cause of the pain,” said Jeffrey Fudin, PharmD, DAIPM, FCCP, FASHP, president and director of scientific and clinical affairs, Remitigate LLC, and clinical pharmacy specialist in pain management, Stratton VA Medical Center, Albany, NY.

The guideline authors consider the wide range of types of pain that cancer survivors might suffer from and promote the use of nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic treatments—or a combination—to improve function and comfort, depending on individual patient needs.

Acknowledged is the difficulty in deciding who provides pain management—an oncologist, a pain management team, or another professional. Pharmacists have an opportunity to use the management tools provided to ensure patients are being treated appropriately and to educate prescribers on the medications that can best treat a patient’s specific source of pain.

To find a complete roundup of recent guideline updates, please visit www.pharmacytoday.org for the full article in the upcoming October 2016 issue of Pharmacy Today.

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