What's New In  |   June 2013
Pain and Prejudice: What’s New in Pain Medicine
Author Affiliations
  • Kieran A. Slevin, M.B.,B.Ch.
    Committee on Pain Medicine
Article Information
Pain Medicine / What's New In
What's New In   |   June 2013
Pain and Prejudice: What’s New in Pain Medicine
ASA Monitor 06 2013, Vol.77, 62-63.
ASA Monitor 06 2013, Vol.77, 62-63.
The specialty of pain medicine was born when anesthesiologists took their undoubted expertise in managing pain during surgery and critical illness into the realm of outpatient pain management. Anesthesiologists led the way in developing pain clinics and remain dominant in that the majority of specialists are still anesthesiologists (despite inroads from other fields) and accreditation to practice pain medicine is still overseen by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Is this a legacy we should be proud of?
To dismiss it quickly, let us start with the issue of overprescribing of opioids for pain. As a matter of fact, pain specialists tend not to be the most agregious prescribers. However, specialists must take responsibility for their role in promoting opioid treatment of chronic pain to unsuspecting community practitioners who did not have enough knowledge, or the right infrastructure, to manage this complex treatment. The result is an epidemic of prescription opioid-related abuse and death in the United States that has not been matched in any other country. In other countries, opioids are not used as widely or at such high doses as they are in the U.S.
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