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Title: Policy on the Management of Pain
Date Adopted: March 31, 2009; Revised August 16, 2011
Scope of Practice: Registered Pharmacists
Purpose: To Insure Patient Access to Appropriate and Effective Pain Management
The Board of Registration in Pharmacy (Board) recognizes that principles of quality pharmacy practice must ensure that patients have access to appropriate and effective pain relief.
This Policy expresses the Board's support for pain management practices that assure appropriate application of up-to-date knowledge and treatment modalities in the practice of pharmacy that may improve the quality of life for patients suffering from pain, as well as reduce the morbidity and costs associated with untreated or inappropriately managed pain.
For purposes of this Policy, the inappropriate management of pain includes non-treatment, under-treatment, over-treatment and the continued use of ineffective treatment.
The Board encourages pharmacists to view pain management as a part of pharmacy practice for all patients in pain, whether acute or chronic. All pharmacists are encouraged to become knowledgeable about effective methods of pain management.(1)
A pharmacist registered by the Board should provide access to pain medication to patients with legitimate needs in accordance with accepted standards of pharmacy practice.
It is the Board's position that these standards, in the context of appropriate and effective pain management, include:
Pharmacists are encouraged to acquire and maintain current knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to practice in accordance with accepted standards of care for pain management. Such competencies may be acquired through continuing education programs, as appropriate to the pharmacist's scope of practice(5), in the areas of current federal and state laws and regulations for the prescribing, dispensing, administration and destruction of controlled substances, as well as review of the current edition of the United States Pharmacopeia Drug Information, pharmacy best practice recommendations, peer reviewed medical literature, and current evidence based guidelines developed by nationally recognized professional organizations in the assessment and management of pain. Pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 94C, Section 18(e), a Pharmacist licensed by the Board who is authorized to prescribe controlled substances (e.g. participate in collaborative drug therapy management with a supervising physician pursuant to a written collaborative practice agreement) must complete the following education mandates as a prerequisite to obtaining or renewing professional licensure: effective pain management; identification of patients at high risk for substance abuse; and counseling of patients about the side effects, addictive nature and proper storage and disposal of prescription medications.