An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration overwhelmingly endorsed mandatory training for doctors who prescribe opioid painkillers, in an effort to stem what has become a national epidemic of deaths and addiction from the drugs.
The recommendation followed a two-day hearing on the medical evidence regarding opioids and ways to improve their safety. Overall, the committee voted unanimously to recommend an overhaul of current federal requirements to train doctors and patients about the risks of overusing the pain drugs.
On the mandatory doctor-training question and some other safety recommendations, the panel’s chairman, Dr. Almut Winterstein of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida, said the group had shown “fairly overwhelming agreement.”
“We need to teach people to use these drugs sparingly,” said committee member Jeanmarie Perrone, a professor of emergency medicine and toxicologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 19,000 Americans die from narcotic painkillers annually, a number that has been rising for at least the last 15 years. The products involved include medicines that contain hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl.Read More On www.wsj.com