Long overdue limits on opioid prescriptions are finally being introduced to the Buckeye State. As of Wednesday, the State Medical Board of Ohio has enacted new requirements that must be met for the prescribing and continuing use of opioids. The rules will affect both short term and long term prescriptions.
How stringent the rules are depend on the current dosage. MED or “Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose” is the unit of measurement by which all opioids are measured for effectiveness. For prescriptions of up to 50 MED:
prescribers are required to re-evaluate the status of the patient’s underlying condition causing pain, assess functioning, look for signs of prescription misuse, consider consultation with a specialist and obtain written informed consent from the patient.
For up to 80 MED, prescribers will do all of the above and consider prescribing naloxone, a drug that functions as an incredibly effective treatment for opioid overdoses. Though it can be administered in a myriad of ways, naloxone is most commonly prescribed as a nasal spray.
Lastly, for prescriptions of 120 MED and above, “there must be a recommendation from a board-certified pain medicine physician or board certified hospice and palliative care physician that is based upon a face-to-face visit and examination,” in addition to the aforementioned stipulations.
To many experts, the most impactful aspect of these new limitations is the proliferation of naloxone. The drug has been hailed as an essential tool in fighting the war on opioid addiction. Last week, the FDA took aggressive steps to streamline the approval process for the opioid overdose treatment in the hope of lowering the cost and increasing availability. Ohio has consistently been among the top five states for opioid deaths and the hope is that these modest steps may begin to give Ohioans a fighting chance at overcoming this affliction.
The comprehensive list of additional changes can be found here.
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Opioids” by Kansas State Research and Extension’s Photo Stream. CC BY 2.0.