American Society for Pain Management Nursing Position Statement: Prescribing and Administering Opioid Doses Based Solely on Pain Intensity

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Abstract

The foundation of safe and effective pain management is an individualized, comprehensive pain assessment, which includes, but is not limited to, determining the intensity of pain if the patient is able to report it. An unforeseen consequence of the widespread use of pain intensity rating scales is the practice of prescribing specific doses of opioid analgesics based solely on specific pain intensity. Many factors in addition to pain intensity influence opioid requirements, and there is no research showing that a specific opioid dose will relieve pain of a specific intensity in all patients. The American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) holds the position that the practice of prescribing doses of opioid analgesics based solely on a patient's pain intensity should be prohibited because it disregards the relevance of other essential elements of assessment and may contribute to untoward patient outcomes.

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