Balancing access to appropriate treatment for chronic and end-of-life pain with need to stem misuse and abuse of opioids

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, reports that as the agency considers new efforts to address the opioid crisis in the United States, "FDA remains focused on striking the right balance between reducing the rate of new addiction by decreasing exposure to opioids and rationalizing prescribing, while still enabling appropriate access to those patie

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, reports that as the agency considers new efforts to address the opioid crisis in the United States, "FDA remains focused on striking the right balance between reducing the rate of new addiction by decreasing exposure to opioids and rationalizing prescribing, while still enabling appropriate access to those patients who have legitimate medical need for these medicines." On Monday, FDA held a Patient-Focused Drug Develop meeting seeking input from adults and children living with chronic pain. Gottlieb says, "We want to better understand the challenges or barriers patients face accessing various treatments for pain," adding that he hopes the meeting will provide insight to help inform opioid policies and further efforts to create new treatments. Gottlieb discusses the challenges of opioid overprescribing as well as new steps the agency has taken to "aggressively confront the epidemic of addiction, while advancing policies to help make sure that patients with pain have access to appropriate, evidence-based care." Good medical management is essential, he says, as is taking an aggressive approach to changing the culture of medicine around treating pain. FDA's goal is to "support more rational prescribing practices, as well as identify and encourage development of new treatment options that don't have the addictive features of opioids. In this way, we'll help ensure that we're not unnecessarily putting patients as risk of addiction by overprescribing opioids, while also maintaining appropriate access to care for patients with serious pain," Gottlieb adds.