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Professional societies issue joint recommendations on chronic pain management during pandemic

The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA) and European Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Therapy (ESRA) have issued a joint statement on recommendations for chronic pain practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recommendations include:

  • Substituting telemedicine visits for in-person visits where possible.
  • For patients infected with the virus, “We do not recommend any changes to ongoing opioid treatment regimens in the absence of documented changes in pain and/or function.” Patients on transdermal opioids should be carefully monitored, as fever can affect absorption rate.
  • Ensure all patients receive their appropriate prescription of opioids to avoid withdrawal.
  • Provide naloxone education and prescription for high-risk patients.

The recommendations also include procedures for necessary in-office visits for patients who are at low risk or virus-negative, and separate procedures for those who are at high risk or virus-positive.

Shanthanna H, Cohen SP, Strand N, et al. Recommendations on chronic pain practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. A joint statement by American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA) and European Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Therapy (ESRA). Updated March 27, 2020. https://www.asra.com/page/2903/recommendations-on-chronic-pain-practice-during-the-covid-19-pandemic