The American Medical Association (AMA) will change the way it manages the use of medicinal herbs and other medicines for chronic pain.
The AMA announced Wednesday that it will introduce a new set of guidelines and regulations that will guide how doctors, pharmacists, and other medical professionals can prescribe certain herbal products for pain.
For instance, they will no longer be allowed to prescribe marijuana to treat pain if they are also prescribed opioids.
They will also be able to prescribe the opiate antagonist naloxone, which is a drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdoses.
“Medicinal uses of opioid painkillers and other analgesics are widely recognized to be safe, effective, and medically necessary,” AMA president Dr. Susan M. Blumenauer said in a statement.
“However, there is increasing evidence that some prescription opioid pain medicines are potentially unsafe or even deadly.
These medicines should be used only by doctors and patients who have a high degree of confidence that the drug is safe.”
It’s important to note that while some medicinal herbs are also used in anti-cancer treatments, such as the herb psilocybin, many other drugs used to treat chronic pain are also safe, with the exception of some rare drugs.
The new rules will be released as part of the annual medical marijuana reform conference, the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
The first rule will allow physicians to prescribe any herbal treatment as long as they do not have a documented history of opioid dependence, which means a person who is taking the drug recreationally and for no medical purpose is not eligible to be prescribed it.
In addition, a person can no longer use the herb if they have ever received or have received a prescription for an opioid, a benzodiazepine, a narcotic painkiller, or a sedative.
The second rule will ban doctors from prescribing marijuana to patients with HIV/AIDS, people with cancer, or people who have been prescribed benzodiazapine for a psychiatric disorder.
Patients with a medical condition, including severe epilepsy or a history of seizures, are not eligible.
The third rule will clarify that physicians must report any medication, such, for opioid analgesics, as they see fit, as long the medication has not been abused.
The fourth rule will require doctors to report to their patients if they believe a person is taking a non-prescription drug.
“The AMA is committed to creating safe and accessible access to medical marijuana,” AMA President and CEO Dr. Brian Brown said in the statement.
But “there are some drugs that have become increasingly popular over the past decade that are potentially dangerous or addictive, and the AMA is calling on physicians to take the necessary precautions to prevent misuse.”
For instance: opioids, including oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, and hydrocodone, can be fatal when used by people under the influence.
The opioid antagonist naltrexone has been used to reverse the effects and may also be used to control seizures, while opioids like hydrocortisone, desogestrel, and fentanyl can be used in combination to relieve pain.
“It’s essential for our physicians to report any adverse events or reports of potential misuse of these medications to their clients,” Brown said.
“In order to continue to treat our patients and patients’ health, we must be alert to potential harms.”
The AMA is also announcing that it is launching a public education campaign called “No Pain” that will provide guidance for physicians on how to best inform their patients about the medical benefits of medicinal herb use and the risks associated with it.
Patients should also be aware of how to report adverse events, and ask their physicians if they can use certain herbal medicines, such opioids, to treat their pain.
There are other changes as well.
Under the new rules, there will be limits on how much of a prescription drug a doctor can prescribe for a patient.
For example, a doctor will only be able give a person two tablets of a particular medication.
A patient can receive more than two tablets at a time, but the first two will not be dispensed.
“Patients will not receive more powerful, more addictive, or more dangerous medications if they receive fewer than two doses of a drug,” Brown added.
“They can get multiple doses at a given time and we will work with them to ensure that they receive as many doses as they need to treat the symptoms.”
The rules will also provide for the first time the ability to exclude certain types of medical conditions from the list of conditions that are considered medical conditions.
This will allow doctors to exclude people who suffer from a condition that is a severe medical or physical disease, such a heart condition, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDs, or multiple sclerosis.
The rule will also include rules for people with severe pain or other serious conditions that would make it impossible for them to access certain medications, such painkillers, anti-anxiety medications, or antidepressants.
The final rule will make it easier for patients to get a diagnosis of a condition, such diabetes,