Abstract

The field of malignant hematology has experienced extraordinary advancements with survival rates doubling for many disorders. As a result, many life-threatening conditions have since evolved into chronic medical ailments. Paralleling these advancements have been increasing rates of complex hematologic pain syndromes, present in up to 60% of patients with malignancy who are receiving active treatment and up to 33% of patients during survivorship. Opioids remain the practice cornerstone to managing malignancy-associated pain. Prevention and management of opioid-related complications have received significant national attention over the past decade, and emerging data suggest that patients with cancer are at equal if not higher risk of opioid-related complications when compared with patients without malignancy. Numerous tools and procedural practice guides are available to help facilitate safe prescribing. The recent development of cancer-specific resources directing algorithmic use of validated pain screening tools, prescription drug monitoring programs, urine drug screens, opioid use disorder risk screening instruments, and controlled substance agreements have further strengthened the framework for safe prescribing. This article, which integrates federal and organizational guidelines with known risk factors for cancer patients, offers a case-based discussion for reviewing safe opioid prescribing practices in the hematology setting.

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