National Spine and Pain Centers CEO explains how his practice approaches opioids

Eric Oliver -   Print  |

Rockville, Md.-based National Spine and Pain Centers CEO Doug Wisor, MD, discussed with Becker's Spine Review how his company utilizes opioids.

Dr. Wisor's approach to opioid management is just one facet of his business, which he explores in a larger feature piece going live tomorrow.

Note: Responses were edited for style and clarity.

Q: How does National Spine and Pain Centers address opioid use? What sort of trends are emerging to curb opioid use?

Dr. Doug Wisor: I'm not as draconian as it's all opioids or no opioids. We have thousands of patients who are being responsively managed on opiates. Seventy-two percent of patients, at one time, came [through our door having used] an opiate.

While we want to eliminate and eradicate opiate use, the reality of an aging population [means] if we are going to use opioids, we want to have best practices in place. We want to monitor those patients safely, minimize their pill counts and minimize their overall morphine.

That can all be done. There are opiate-sparing effects with interventional procedures. Spinal cord stimulation and the mild [procedure] all demonstrated [the ability] to reduce opioid dependency or burden.

One of our [current] initiatives is to improve our ability to execute on intrathecal pumps. Meaning if some patients need an opiate, let's take high pill counts off the street and deliver [pain relief] directly [while] monitoring patients regularly.

While there are a lot of ways we are attacking the problem, the truth is we still have thousands of patients that we routinely monitor on a monthly basis, that are using opiates safely and responsibly.

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