Posted on April 17, 2013
The AVMA is reminding veterinarians that they are not federally required to obtain any special training prior to legally administering certain types of opioid drugs.
Two AVMA members recently alerted the Association that they had received letters from companies claiming prescribers of sustained-release opioids are required under federal law to be trained in proper prescribing procedures and appropriate use of these drugs.
Those claims are false, according to Dr. Lynne White-Shim, assistant director of the AVMA Scientific Activities Division. “Veterinarians are not required by the federal government to undertake training on prescribing and use of sustained-release opioids. It’s strongly encouraged but not required,” she said. Some states may, however, require training for these drugs, Dr. White-Shim added, and she advised veterinarians to check their state regulations to determine whether they are in compliance.
The idea that the federal government requires additional training to legally prescribe certain drugs can be traced to the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy—a Food and Drug Administration initiative intended to curb abuse and misuse of certain drugs.
The FDA has instituted various REMS requirements that limit drug access to certain prescribers, require specific communications about a drug of concern, or limit a certain drug’s use to specific disease conditions.
When the FDA began considering a REMS for sustained-release opioids, the AVMA was concerned veterinary access to these drugs could be restricted. As a result, the AVMA participated in several meetings and advocated for veterinarian access to all sustained-release opioids.
“We underscored how valuable these drugs are, particularly for painful conditions in animals,” Dr. White-Shim said.
“We recognize veterinarians already gain continuing education on opioids and other therapeutics through professional organizations and scientific conferences, which is a valuable way for veterinarians to stay current on best practices,” she explained.
The AVMA will notify members of any changes in the REMS on sustained-release opioids, but there currently is no federal mandate for veterinarians to receive training on the prescribing of opioid drugs.