While momentum for the forced tapering proposal for Oregon Medicaid patients promoted by the Oregon Health Evidence Review Commission has stalled for now, thanks to pressure from local pain patients and national pain experts, the state’s Opioid Taper Guidelines Task Force is continuing its work.
The Task Force meets on Friday July 19th and is considering a proposal to dramatically expand the criteria for inclusion in a forced taper.
The language now includes mental health comorbidities that can “develop or worsen” with opioid therapy.
The important word, according to those who have read the guideline, is “develop”. This, according to advocates, leaves interpretation not about what is happening but what might happen without any protection for the chronic pain community.
OHA says it is convening experts on the Oregon Opioid Taper Guidelines Task Force. OHA says, “The resulting guidelines from this task force will supplement the Opioid Prescribing Guidelines for Chronic Pain to help patients and prescribers’ approach opioid tapering with best practices in mind.”
The Oregon Opioid Taper Guidelines Task Force currently meets publicly monthly through at least September 2019.
One of its members has raised the eyebrows of advocates who believe the Task Force may be predisposed to an anti-opioid stance—despite declaration from practically all in the pain management community that opioids have a role in the treatment of chronic pain.
Paul Coelho, MD is the Medical Director of the Pain Clinic at Salem Health and is also a board member of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP). Its executive director, Dr. Andrew Kolodny has been a hired gun…to the tune of $700+ hourly… in testifying in trials against pharmaceutical companies who produce opioid medication.
As Oregon continues to push for more rigid opioid prescribing guidelines, it’s important to remember what the FDA said on the matter earlier this year.
Recently, the FDA has received reports of serious harm, including serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain and suicide, in patients who are physically dependent on opioid pain medicines when these medicines are suddenly discontinued or when the dose is reduced too quickly, often without adequate patient communication, follow-up or support.
If you wish to contact the state of Oregon about the issue prior to its meeting on July 19th, contact Lisa Bui, 971-673-3397, 711 TTY, or firstname.lastname@example.org at least 48 hours before the meeting.
For more on the Oregon Opioid Taper Guideline Task Force, click here.