Widmer Appointed to NASEM Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Acute Pain

Dr. Charles Widmer

Dr. Widmer

University of Florida Associate Professor of Orthodontics Charles Widmer, D.D.S., M.S., was appointed to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, or NASEM, Committee on Evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Acute Pain.

As a member of the committee, Widmer and his fellow committee colleagues will contribute to the development of guidelines for prescribing opioids for acute pain.

The committee, which will meet a total of five times throughout the duration of the year, will next meet February 4-5, in Washington, D.C.

The group was formed on behalf of the National Academy of Medicine under NASEM, and will develop a framework to evaluate existing clinical practice guidelines for prescribing opioids for acute pain indications, recommend indications for which new evidence-based guidelines should be developed, and recommend a future research agenda to inform and enable specialty organizations to develop and disseminate evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for prescribing opioids to treat acute pain indications.

Committee Directives

  • Identify existing opioid prescribing guidelines for acute pain indications;
  • Identify a list of specific medical procedures and conditions associated with acute pain  (i.e., develop a prioritized list not to exceed 50) for which opioids are commonly prescribed and for which evidenced-based clinical practice guidelines would thus help inform prescribing practices;
  • Develop a framework for evaluating the evidence base underpinning clinical practice guidelines for opioid prescribing, to create a threshold level of evidence to support guidelines and ensure consistency among guidelines;
  • Evaluate existing opioid prescribing guidelines for acute pain using this framework to identify specific indications for which prescribing guidelines are not sufficiently evidence-based; and
  • Develop a prioritized research agenda, by specific medical procedure or condition (not to exceed 10 of each surgical procedure or medical condition) for which no opioid prescribing guidelines exist or for which more evidence is required to support existing guidelines, to enable the development and availability of comprehensive evidence-based opioid prescribing guidelines for acute pain.

More on the Committee

In developing its evaluation framework, the committee will consider the standards established in the 2011 Institute on Medicine report Clinical Practice Guidelines We Can Trust. The committee will produce recommendations for how to generate easily accessible, evidence-based, trustworthy clinical practice guidelines for effectively managing acute pain with opioid drugs for specific medical procedures and conditions that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could use as a reference in its publicly available materials.

About Widmer

Widmer, head of the Division of Facial Pain, received his D.D.S. from Emory University in 1981 and a master’s degree in oral sciences from SUNY/Buffalo in 1983. He was recruited to Emory University School of Dentistry as an Assistant Professor in 1983 and was appointed Director of the Facial Pain Clinic in 1984 until the closure of Emory University School of Dentistry in 1991. Dr. Widmer subsequently accepted a position at UFCD where he has continued his NIH funded research, teaching and patient care.

Widmer’s clinical practice includes differential diagnosis of various facial pain conditions with a limited management focus primarily on masticatory musculoskeletal disorders. His research interests include masticatory muscle motor control mechanisms, the biological basis of masticatory muscle pain and mechanisms of masticatory muscle injury and repair. Widmer is currently the principal investigator for a study on “Assessment of opioid use before and after temporomandibular joint implant surgery.” He has recently chaired an intracollege committee to examine the use of opioids for dental and oral surgery and to bring prescribing practices in line with newer treatment options.

He has served as chair of numerous special emphasis panels for National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the American Dental Education Association, the International Association for Dental Research, including the Neuroscience Group, and the American Association for Dental Research, including as board member in 2000.