FDA releases revised opioid blueprint to educate prescribers, mitigate opioid crisis: 4 takeaways

In an attempt to prevent opioid overprescribing, the FDA released a revised blueprint for opioid prescriber education. The blueprint contains core content for training that drug manufacturers must make available to prescribers.

Here are four things to know:

1. The revised blueprint broadens content to include acute and chronic pain management information, safe opioid use or other non-opioid or non-drug treatments and addiction medicine and opioid use disorders.

2. Once it is finalized later this year, the blueprint and the Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy will apply to both outpatient immediate-release opioid analgesic manufacturers and extended release/long-acting formulations.

3. The blueprint must also be offered to non-prescriber healthcare professionals involved in patient pain management.

4. According to the CDC, opioids — including prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl — killed more than 42,000 people in 2016, more than any other year on record. Of all opioid overdose deaths, 40 percent involve a prescription opioid.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said in a statement that "appropriate prescribing practices and education are important steps within our statutory authority to help address the human and financial toll of this crisis. We can and must do more to arm physicians — who are the gatekeepers of prescription opioids — with the most current and comprehensive guidance on the appropriate management of pain. The blueprint is one tool for achieving these goals."

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