AMA Wire

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Special Feature

As overdose deaths multiply, AMA offers pain management CME series

Comprehensive training program comprised of 12 online modules that address clinically important aspects of pain management

More than 16,600 people die from prescription painkiller overdoses each year, according to a newly released report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a number that has been climbing annually.

Among women, overdose deaths from prescription opioids have increased 400 percent over the last decade, while deaths among men have increased 265 percent. Men still make up the greater share of such overdose deaths, accounting for about 10,000 deaths in 2010 alone.

A newly updated continuing medical education (CME) series from the AMA can help physicians manage their patients’ pain while guarding against patient misuse and unintentional harm. This comprehensive training program is comprised of 12 online modules that address clinically important aspects of pain management, including:

  • Pain mechanisms and assessment
  • The universal-precautions approach to the clinical use of opioid analgesics
  • Management options for cancer patients and patients with other persistent pain
  • Therapy structure
  • Risk management

Several modules also focus on specific populations, disorders and conditions.

Physicians can complete the entire program or select modules that address the specific needs of their practices and patients. This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Since first releasing this online program in 2003, the AMA has issued approximately 155,000 CME certificates for the online version and 65,000 for the print version. About 26,000 non-physician health care professionals also completed the program.

The program update was made possible by support from the Prescribers' Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies (PCSS-O), a collaborative project funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

The AMA offers other educational resources to help physicians address prescription drug abuse and diversion, including six archived webinars on topics related to responsible opioid prescribing. Additional webinars will be held over the next two years.

Editor’s note: The PCSS-O is led by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and includes the AMA, the American Dental Association, the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Society for Pain Management Nursing and the International Nurses Society on Addictions.