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Shared decision-making can improve pain management
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Shared decision-making can improve pain management

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Today's Perspective

Kristin Wiisanen PharmD, FAPhA, FCCP

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, shared decision-making “occurs when a health care provider and a patient work together to make a health care decision that is best for the patient.” It benefits both patients and pharmacists. Patients have an improved experience of care and better adherence to treatment recommendations; pharmacists can ensure enriched quality of care and increased patient satisfaction. The concepts of both shared and person-centered decision-making are hallmarks of CDC’s 2022 Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain.

Image of Kristin Wiisanen PharmD, FAPhA, FCCP Pharmacy Today editor in chief

The cover story in this issue focuses on this new guidance and teases out specific recommendations for pharmacists. Overall, many pharmacists will be happy to know that the emphasis has shifted from the previous guideline’s presentation of rigid patient care choices focused on hard limits to a more flexible approach that stresses patient and provider communication, empowerment, and collaboration in pain management. In addition, “The guideline explicitly recognizes various roles for pharmacists in integrated pain management as part of care teams,” said Anne Burns, RPh, former vice president of professional affairs at APhA, who served on the workgroup for the guideline. Care teams, as outlined by CDC, empower pharmacists to assist with treatment plans and tapering opioids, coprescribe naloxone, and help interpret prescription drug monitoring program data. These latest guideline opens the door for interprofessional collaboration in pain management and seeks to close the door on the strict, prescriptive approach that many institutions had adopted as policies and practices based on previous CDC guidance.

In this issue of Today, you’ll also get an update on new drug approvals  including teplizumab-mzwv for diabetes, and find guidance on recommending OTC treatments for headaches and OTC hearing aids. Learn what’s included in the North American Menopause Society’s updated position statement on hormone therapy for menopause and why pharmacists are still facing challenges with prescribing Paxlovid. Catch up on your CPE credit with this month’s article on updates in heart failure management.

CDC’s new pain management guideline follows trends that we are seeing in other areas of practice: collaboration and expanding pharmacists’ roles. Given the opioid crisis that our nation is facing, this guidance will be essential in developing successful care plans for pain management patients. Sharing the decision-making process among interprofessional providers and emphasizing person-centered decision making is a formidable step in the right direction for this field. Take a moment to review these recommendations—pharmacists are key to their implementation. And their adoption, along with their inclusion of pharmacists on the care team, will lead to improved outcomes for patients with pain.

Have a great Today!

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