Christiana Care Health System is starting to treat some of its patients with chronic pain at a new pain management center focused on treating pain without prescribing opioids.
The so-called Comprehensive Pain Center is opening with a soft rollout this week available to Christiana Care patients by referral only, but officials say they hope to eventually open it to walk-ins.
The Center’s Medical Director Rajivan Maniam, MD says it will offer multiple strategies to help patients with chronic pain taper off their opioid prescriptions.
“We will basically be designing opioid schedules to help patients who are on these high doses of chronic opioids, and who have been on them for very long periods of time, to slowly ease them down without going through things like withdrawal or worsening pain,” said Maniam.
The center does not currently perscribe any opioids, but Maniam says it may in the future. He says it will also offer chronic pain physical rehab, a six-week behavioral health program and alternative pain therapies like acupuncture.
“Focusing on the patient as a whole, dealing with their psychological health, the health of their bodies—we have a nutritionist on staff as well—and then trying to combat blind escalating of opioids,” he said.
Maniam says Christiana Care is also developing an opioid tapering pathway guideline for its primary care physicians to potentially identify patients with substance abuse disorder and refer them to addiction medicine consultants.
According to the CDC, the opioid prescribing rate in Delaware has decreased by more than 30% since 2010. But is still above the national average with more than 68 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons in 2017.