Hope for Opioid Alternatives: House Approves Legislation to Simplify Approval Process for Some OTC Pain Medications

By now it’s no secret that the dental industry is working diligently to be part of the solution to the current opioid crisis in America. As we mentioned in a previous article there are over 2 million known cases of opioid addiction in the U.S. and some of those cases stem from opioids prescribed after dental procedures.

Fortunately, a recent piece of legislation has passed in the House—meaning we are one step closer to dental professionals having easier access to effective pain management without opioids.

According to a recent new release by the ADA, a bill known as the Over-the-Counter Monograph, Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act of 2018 was approved by the House on July 16. This piece of legislation will streamline the current approval process for certain OTC pain relievers with a combination of two or more active ingredients, which in the cases of some drugs can take more than a decade.

For their part the ADA has been vocal of their support of this legislation, actually sending a letter of support for the bill to the House the same day it was approved. In the letter the ADA urged the governing body to approve the bill they believed would be “an important step towards alleviating the scourge of opioid abuse” that has taken a severe toll on many individuals and communities.

Currently, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are often suggested as pain relievers to patients after a dental procedure but they don’t always provide the level of pain management needed. So the major benefit of this bill to the dental industry would be faster approval of a strength-controlled combination acetaminophen-ibuprofen drug that could be taken in place of opioids for post-operative pain relief.

According to ADA President Joseph P. Crowley and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, this type of OTC combination drug would be “a safe, effective and convenient alternative to opioid pain relievers.”

This bill, which has received support from other health care groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, will now move onto the Senate for consideration and hopeful approval.