Clinical Practice Guidelines

The Board of Directors of APS voted in 1997 to embark upon an ambitious effort to develop and disseminate a series of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on the management of complex pain problems to be used by patients, payers, and providers. The Program is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, ongoing effort to develop guidelines and assure their dissemination and implementation. It adheres to state-of-the-art scientific principles of guideline development and evaluation.

To guide this program, APS has established a Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee, chaired by Keela Ann Herr, PhD RN FAAN, Professor and Co-Director of the John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence and Associate Dean for Faculty, College of Nursing, at the University of Iowa.

The committee identifies topics for guideline development, oversees and ensures the validity of the guideline development process, and advises on dissemination issues.

The guidelines program is led by Roger Chou, MD of the Oregon Health & Science University’s Evidence-Based Practice Center. Dr. Chou and his staff work with multidisciplinary expert panels to define guideline scope and key questions, develop evidence reviews, develop recommendations, conduct peer review and finalize guideline recommendations for publication.

Since its inception, APS has published seven guidelines and has two guidelines (methadone safety and post-operative pain) in process for publication in 2013-2014.

APS Guidelines Set High Standard of Excellence
Keela Herr, PhD RN AGSF FAAN, Chair, APS Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee

The Annals of Internal Medicine recently published a systematic review and appraisal of guidelines for use of opioids to treat chronic pain. The authors used the AGREE II method and the AMSTAR ratings system to evaluate 13 guidelines and the underlying systematic reviews. Of the 13 guidelines evaluated, only two received high scores on both ratings systems, one being the APS-American Academy of Pain Medicine Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Chronic Opioid Therapy in Chronic Noncancer Pain. Reviewers noted the outstanding guidelines were developed by using comprehensive systematic reviews and rigorous methods for formulating recommendations and frequently link recommendations to evidence.

Guidelines Currently Available

Methadone Safety: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American Pain Society and College on Problems of Drug Dependence, in Collaboration With the Heart Rhythm Society

Published, April 2014


Evidence Review [PDF]

APS gratefully acknowledges the many experts who provided peer reviews of both the Methadone Safety Guideline and the Methadone Safety Evidence Report. The society is most appreciative of their time and expertise.

Expert Reviewers of Evidence Report

Expert Reviewers of Guideline

Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Chronic Opioid Therapy in Chronic Noncancer Pain

News Release, February 10, 2009
Evidence Review [PDF]: Use of Chornic Opioid There

Diagnosis and Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Joint Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society, Annals of Internal Medicine, 2 October 2007, Volume 147 Issue 7 Pages 478-491

Originally published October 2, 2007

Evidence Review [PDF]

Interventional Therapies, Surgery, and Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation for Low Back Pain: An Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline From the American Pain Society

Evidence Review [PDF]

Guideline for the Management of Acute and Chronic Pain in Sickle-Cell Disease

Published 1999

Guildeline Information

Archived Guidelines