October 26 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which encourages people to safely dispose of their unused prescription medications while raising year-round awareness and inspire further action about the opioid public health crisis.
For more than a decade, the ADA says it has advocated to keep opioid pain medications from harming dental patients and their families. Dentists have written nearly half a million fewer opioid prescriptions over a five-year period, the ADA says. Also, the ADA is the only national health professional organization to agree to mandated limits on opioid prescriptions.
“For years, dentists have been self-regulating their own prescribing habits in order to do what is best for patients,” said ADA president Chad Gehani, DDS. “As a profession, we make a promise to our patients that we will be good stewards of their health. We will continue to fight the opioid epidemic by keeping that promise and upholding the all-important doctor-patient relationship.”
The ADA continues to urge its 163,000 dentist members to consider nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as a first-line therapy for acute pain management. A review of research published in the April 2018 issue of JADA indicates that NSAIDs, alone or in combination with acetaminophen, are more effective with fewer side effects than opioids for acute pain management.
Also, the ADA says that it is continuing to focus on the opioid epidemic by:
- Offering free webinars and in-person continuing education sessions for dental professionals
- Urging dentists to register with their state prescription drug monitoring programs
- Offering patient-friendly resources to inform the public that over-the-counter pain relievers can often effectively relieve short-term dental pain