Patient Safety Weekly Must Reads (September 9, 2016)

This week, we refocused our attention on the subject of opioid safety. Recently, the Surgeon General issued a letter to physicians urging them to take a part in combating the opioid epidemic.

In addition to bringing our readers the most topical articles and news from PPAHS and the web, we’ve also created a brief (2 minute – 5 question) survey to understand reactions to the Surgeon General’s letter. Please take the time to complete it here.


5 Key Steps to Assessing and Identifying At-Risk Patients for Respiratory Compromise.

PPAHS interviewed Dr. Thomas Frederickson, lead author of the comprehensive QI guide, “Reducing Adverse Drug Events Related to Opioids” (otherwise known as the RADEO guide). In this first of a two-part interview, Dr. Frederickson focuses on 5 key steps to identifying and addressing for patient conditions that pose a greater risk of respiratory depression.

To read the full transcript, please click here.

Prince and the Opioid Epidemic: 5 Ways for Addressing this National Crisis


Amidst the call for greater restrictions on opioids, it must not be forgotten that opioids play a vital role in the management of pain, such as during surgery or to relieve chronic pain. In the wake of the CDC’s recent Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, we pulled together 5 key resources to ensure appropriate prescribing. Read the full article here.

From the Web:

Best Advice for People Taking Opioid Medication

Though published in 2013, this video by Dr. Mike Evans remains as topical as ever. It’s a great overview on opioids and their role in addiction, as well as some helpful steps in using opioids for treating pain.

Doctors React to Surgeon General Letter About Opioid Epidemic

In this article, several Indiana doctors respond to the Surgeon General’s letter regarding the opioid epidemic. “I think there is a strong desire for physicians to see themselves in the public health system as wanting to improve the health of citizens and people around us,” says one doctor. Read the full article here, and let us know your own thoughts on the letter in our new survey.

Black Box Warnings Added for Opioid, Benzodiazepines That Can Harm in Combination

opioid pills

The Baltimore Sun recently covered news that the FDA will now require the public be warned about the potentially dangerous combination of prescription opioids with a class of drugs called benzodiazepines that are commonly used to treat depression and anxiety. In our own interview with Dr. Frederickson (above), he also mentions the dangers of the additive effect of combination of the two classes of medication. Read the full article here.

Leave a Comment, if You Care About Patient Safety