C.A.R.E.S. AllianceSM will partner with
leading organizations to provide "safe-use" resources for patients,
caregivers and healthcare professionals
ST. LOUIS & LAS VEGAS, Sep 08, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --
The C.A.R.E.S. Alliance, a new patient safety organization, today
launched a range of online tools designed to help solve the growing
problem of misuse and abuse of opioids by identifying the risks
associated with these powerful pain medications. The free resources
offered through the C.A.R.E.S. (Collaborating & Acting Responsibly to
Ensure Safety) Alliance promote safety in prescribing, dispensing,
using, storing and disposing of these commonly abused pain medications.
Developed in consultation with leading pain experts through a scientific
process, the resources include a variety of "safe-use" programs, tools
and educational materials intended for patients, caregivers, healthcare
professionals and communities. The materials were unveiled at the
PAINWeek Conference taking place this week in Las Vegas.
The C.A.R.E.S. Alliance tools and materials were developed through a
Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA), a scientific methodology to
identify where problems occur in the use of pain medications and the
underlying causes of those problems. FMEA research presented at PAINWeek
identified 79 "failure modes" - or areas where problems occur - in the
use of opioids and 290 potential underlying causes of those failures.
Based on those causes, 929 potential interventions were identified,
leading to the development of 37 initial tools out of the 60 total that
will eventually be available through the C.A.R.E.S. Alliance.1
More than 20 tools are currently available for access at www.caresalliance.org.
These tools include clinical materials and risk assessments for
physicians, safe-use guides for patients and general education related
to safe and responsible opioid prescribing for all groups. As the
C.A.R.E.S. Alliance expands, it will seek input from members and will
offer additional tools, programs and research aimed at improving the
science of safety for opioids.
"As healthcare professionals, we need to do a better job of assessing
our patients' pain medication needs and of communicating the risks of
the medications we prescribe," said Jeffrey Gudin, M.D., pain management
and addiction expert at the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in
Englewood, N.J., one of the Mt. Sinai University School of Medicine
affiliates. "Through the resources of the C.A.R.E.S. Alliance, patients,
caregivers and health professionals will have access to information,
tools and resources to help them better understand these risks and
better ensure that the medications are used properly by only those for
whom they are prescribed."
The C.A.R.E.S. Alliance is sponsored by Covidien, a leading global
provider of healthcare products and the largest producer of prescription
pain medications in the U.S. Through this new partnership, leading
patient advocacy organizations, healthcare professional associations,
healthcare professionals, government agencies, industry organizations
and others will work together to address the insufficient knowledge of
pain medications that often can lead to misuse and abuse. Additionally,
the C.A.R.E.S. Alliance will focus on ensuring that patients suffering
from chronic pain have access to necessary medications.
"Chronic pain affects tens of millions of people in America.
Prescription pain medications can help chronic pain sufferers maintain
their ability to work and function, but these drugs also can be very
dangerous if they are not used properly," said Herbert Neuman, M.D.,
Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer -
Pharmaceuticals for Covidien. "We want to make sure patients and
physicians not only understand the importance of these medications for
providing pain relief, but also comprehend the very real risks these
medications carry. Proper steps must be taken to ensure the safety of
patients and their families."
For more information about the C.A.R.E.S. Alliance or to access its
resources, please visit www.caresalliance.org.
Facts about pain and opioid abuse
More than 76 million Americans are currently living with pain -
ranging from back pain and migraines to post-surgical and cancer pain
- according to the National Centers for Health Statistics and the
American Pain Foundation.2 At the same time, the number of
Americans seeking treatment for abusing prescription pain medications
increased 400 percent in the past decade, according to a July 2010
White House study.3
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
prescription drugs are one of the most commonly abused types of drug,
second only to marijuana; and 70 percent of those who abuse
prescription pain relievers get them from a friend or family member.4
Covidien is a leading global healthcare products company that creates
innovative medical solutions for better patient outcomes and delivers
value through clinical leadership and excellence. Covidien manufactures,
distributes and services a diverse range of industry-leading product
lines in three segments: Medical Devices, Pharmaceuticals and Medical
Supplies. With 2009 revenue of $10.3 billion, Covidien has 42,000
employees worldwide in more than 60 countries, and its products are sold
in over 140 countries. Please visit www.covidien.com
to learn more about our business.
1 Holman K, Mills S, Morelli A, et al. A Science-Based
Approach to Responsible Risk Management for a Novel Long-Acting Opioid
Analgesic [poster]. American Society of Pain Educators. September 2010.
2 Pain Facts & Figures. American Pain Foundation. http://www.painfoundation.org/newsroom/reporter-resources/pain-facts-figures.html.
Accessed Aug. 18, 2010.
3 US Department of Health and Human Services. Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2008
National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings. http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh/2k8nsduh/2k8results.cfm.
Accessed Aug. 18, 2010.
4 US Department of Health and Human Services.
Brett W. Avants
Manager, Media Relations