Clinical Guidelines for Treating Chronic Pain Highlight Opioid Addiction Risk Assessment

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Expert panel finds that SOAPP® is likely to be helpful for risk assessment and stratification

Proper patient selection is critical and requires a comprehensive benefit-to-harm evaluation that weighs the potential positive effects of opioids on pain and function against potential risks

Inflexxion, Inc., a company that creates scientifically validated and cost-effective solutions for critical areas of health care, is pleased to announce that its Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain (SOAPP) has been identified by an expert panel as likely to be helpful for assessing the risk of opioid addiction in patients with chronic non-cancer pain.

SOAPP is a brief paper-and-pencil self report tool that allows clinicians to assess a patient's risk of addiction before initiating opioid therapy.

The multi-disciplinary panel of experts, convened by the American Pain Society and the American Academy of Pain Medicine, conducted a comprehensive review of the evidence to develop a set of authoritative clinical guidelines on the use of opioid medications to treat chronic non-cancer pain. The guidelines, published in the February 2009 issue of The Journal of Pain (Volume 10, Number 2), recommend that clinicians routinely conduct a complete benefit-to-harm evaluation before starting opioid therapy, and do periodic follow-up screenings of patients who may be at risk for abuse or addiction.

"Proper patient selection is critical and requires a comprehensive benefit-to-harm evaluation that weighs the potential positive effects of opioids on pain and function against potential risks," write the authors. "Thorough risk assessment and stratification is appropriate in every case."

According to the authors, screening tools that assess the potential risks associated with continuous opioid therapy (COT) based on patient characteristics are likely to be helpful for risk stratification. The authors identify SOAPP Version 1 and the revised version, SOAPP-R, as among the tools that appear to have "good content, face, and construct validity."

In addition to SOAPP, the guidelines highlight the utility of Inflexxion's Current Opioid Misuse Measure (COMM)®, a complementary tool for identifying whether a patient, throughout the course of long-term opioid therapy, may be exhibiting aberrant behaviors associated with abuse of opioid medications.

"We at Inflexxion are very pleased to see both SOAPP and COMM included in these recommendations," says Kevin L. Zacharoff, M.D., Director of Medical Affairs at Inflexxion. "These guidelines underscore the importance of risk assessment and reassessment in this patient population. The inclusion of the SOAPP and COMM in these recommendations helps to validate Inflexxion's mission, which is to help to reduce health-related risks, enhance clinical outcomes, and positively influence quality of care."

The SOAPP and COMM tools are available for download at no cost through Inflexxion's PainEDU website (http://www.PainEDU.org), along with a clinician tutorial that includes video case examples.

SOAPP was developed by Inflexxion with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and an unrestricted educational grant from Endo Pharmaceuticals.

About Inflexxion, Inc.
Founded in 1989, Inflexxion creates innovative behavioral health solutions for prevention, education, and disease management. Our clinically tested programs address substance abuse and addiction, chronic pain management, college health, and other health and wellness issues. Our pharmaceutical risk management division provides Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) assistance to companies that research, manufacture, and market opioid pain medications and other therapeutic agents with potential abuse problems. Key offerings include NAVIPPRO(TM), PainEDU.org, painACTION.com, and SOAPP®. Inflexxion is based in Newton, MA.

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Lara Romanowski
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