(HealthDay)—Prescribers of extended-release/long-acting (ER/LA) opioid analgesics are encouraged to participate in continuing medical education (CME) provided by manufacturers of these analgesics, according to an open letter published March 1 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Delivery of CME is part of the risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) approved by the FDA in July 2012, and is due to begin in 2013. Using input from stakeholders, CME activities have been developed in accordance with an FDA blueprint, which sets out the core messages to be delivered.
According to the letter, prescribers of ER/LA opioids are encouraged to take advantage of opioid-specific training funded by manufacturers, with the aim of combating misuse and abuse of these medications. The American Academy of Family Practitioners (AAFP) will receive grant funding to support CME addressing the issues included in the blueprint, and anticipates that CME programs will be available this summer. The FDA hopes that 60 percent of the 320,000 prescribers of ER/LA opioids in 2011 will participate in REMS CME during the next three years.
"The goal is that voluntary participation in this CME will help to address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and misuse," said Kathy Marian, M.Ed., the AAFP manager of CME standards and outcomes, said in a statement. "The REMS introduces new safety measures to reduce risks and improve safe use of ER/LA opioids while continuing to provide access to these medications for patients in pain."