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chronic low back pain, low back pain, opioid therapy, pain management, prescribing guidelines



  1. Lall, Maureen Patricia


ABSTRACT: Chronic low back pain is a common, disabling, and costly condition, and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) must carefully evaluate patients before considering long-term opioid therapy as a management strategy. APRNs should refer patients suspected of having a serious condition, or identifiable etiology, for specialist evaluation, as many patients improve with physical therapy, interventional pain management procedures, or surgical intervention. For patients unresponsive to nonopioid treatment, APRNs with an understanding of opioids, and the experience to assess and manage the risks of opioid misuse, abuse, and diversion, may consider long-term opioid therapy as part of a multimodal management plan. Such prescribing necessitates careful patient selection; informed consent; prudent opioid dosing and titration; and monitoring for response to treatment, adverse effects, and aberrant drug-taking behavior. Treatment and regulatory guidelines can assist APRNs in providing safe and effective care to patients with chronic low back pain.