Opioid guideline adherence for Tramadol in those with chronic nonmalignant pain
Horine, Harold James, III
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Pain is a very common problem affecting up to one-third of the entire population of the United States at any given time and for those with pain, 1 in 3 people have chronic nonmalignant pain lasting longer than 3 months (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2016b). A majority of those with pain are seen in a primary care setting initially, and sometimes on an on-going basis (Gatchel, 2004; National Institute of Health [NIH], 2010). Ensuring comfort by addressing pain levels in patients is a primary, ethical nursing duty. Historically, one common modality used to treat pain is the use of opioids. However, the literature indicates that healthcare practitioners at all levels receive little education on how to manage chronic pain utilizing prescription opioids in the primary care setting. A lack of education on prescribing opioids has helped create an epidemic of dependence and overdoses on opioids. Additionally, the opioid crisis has continued despite many attempts at various levels, including executive and legislative bills, to try and stop opioid abuse and overdose. Although originally touted as a safe alternative to opioids and slightly stronger than over-the-counter analgesics, tramadol is an opioid with regulation by the Drug Enforcement Agency and Food and Drug Administration that, upon review, does not appear to be in line with the gold standards for prescribing opioids, such as the 2016 Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines or the 2018 Montana Utilization and Treatment Guidelines, for nonmalignant chronic pain management with opioids. The purpose of this project was to assess provider knowledge related to tramadol and providers' adherence to the present opioid guidelines when prescribing tramadol in a small, southwestern Montana community.