New APS Guideline for Safe Use of Opioids

Measures can be taken to promote safer user of methadone, including better physician education and patient counseling about methadone safety and cardiac monitoring to identify patients at high risk for these problems, a new Clinical Practice Guideline on Methadone Safety from the American Pain Society (APS) concludes.

The safety of methadone, a synthetic opioid narcotic used to treat opioid addiction and chronic pain, has been questioned in recent years, as deaths from methadone overdoses have jumped from 800 in 1999 to 4900 in 2008, the authors note. The increase in deaths has been substantially higher than for any other opioid medication and is attributed to a sharp rise in prescribing methadone for chronic pain, they point out. More.*

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