Bob Twillman, Ph.D., FAPM, Deputy Executive Director, Director of Policy and Advocacy, American Academy of Pain Management and a PAINS Steering Committee Member Attends Adverse Drug Event Conference for PAINS

by Bob Twillman, Ph.D., FAPM


Bob Twillman, PhD, FAPM

On October 30, the US Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) convened a meeting of experts to discuss its Adverse Drug Event (ADE) Action Plan.  The ODPHP has developed these action plans for three classes of medications: anticoagulants, diabetes medications, and opioid analgesics.

The primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss metrics that can be used to evaluate the current extent of ADEs for each of these medication classes, as well as to serve as indicators of change resulting from actions that may be undertaken to reduce ADEs—in the case of opioids, specifically referring to overdose deaths involving opioid analgesics. I participated as co-facilitator of a breakout session for focused specifically on opioids.

The discussion was quite robust and helpful, as the group was able to identify some candidate measures that may cover various aspects of the ADE problem, but also pointed out that there is no single measure that will provide everything we need to know. In fact, the discussants also reminded the ODPHP that even measuring the dependent variable (number of overdose deaths involving opioid analgesics) is extremely problematic given our currently available instruments. Further, cobbling together a set of measures may create other problems because measures for different aspects of the problem look at different samples of people using controlled substances. ODPHP will be issuing a report from the meeting, and I will be happy to share it with the group when it is available.

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