American Dental Association backs seven-day limit on opioids

American Dental Association backs seven-day limit on opioids
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The American Dental Association (ADA) wants to put a seven-day limit on dentists' opioid prescriptions for acute pain, a position that puts the group in line with federal guidelines but goes further than recommendations from the nation’s top association of doctors.

Prescriber limits are contentious in the provider community. Some doctors have been wary of them, instead saying the decision should be made on a case-by-case basis, and the American Medical Association has not supported such limits in the past.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has nonbinding guidelines, recommending that for acute pain an opioid prescription of three days or less is “often sufficient,” and more than seven days “is rarely” needed.

New research shows that 6.4 percent of all opioid prescriptions were written by dentists in 2012, but that rates increased slightly from 2010 to 2015.

The ADA, an association comprised of more 160,000 dentists, also announced Monday its support for mandatory continuing education on prescribing opioids and other controlled substances for dentists, as well as encouraging them to use databases monitoring opioid prescriptions to help flag people requesting multiple prescriptions.

“As president of the ADA, I call upon dentists everywhere to double down on their efforts to prevent opioids from harming our patients and their families,” Joseph Crowley said in a press release. “This new policy demonstrates ADA’s firm commitment to help fight the country’s opioid epidemic while continuing to help patients manage dental pain.”

The move comes as lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working to send legislation combatting the opioid epidemic to President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE’s desk. The crisis shows no sign of slowing down, as deaths involving opioids increased nearly 28 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the latest CDC data.

Last week, Trump unveiled a new plan aimed at combatting the epidemic, which includes curbing opioid prescriptions by one-third in three years.