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New Prehospital Pain Management Guidelines for First Responders

Posted: Feb. 24, 2022

Pain is one of the conditions most frequently encountered by emergency medical services (EMS) professionals in the field.

Updated methods for prehospital administration of many analgesics commonly used to treat pain, including fentanyl and other opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen, and ketamine have been recommended in Evidence-Based Guidelines for Prehospital Pain Management: Recommendations from the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO).

These evidence-based guidelines were published in January 2022 in the journal Prehospital Emergency Care. A companion publication, Evidence-Based Guidelines for Prehospital Pain Management: Literature and Methods, explains the literature reviewed and methods used to create the recommendations.

To support the implementation of the new evidence-based guidelines, NASEMSO and partners also produced related guidance and training including:

  • A model EMS treatment protocol on the pharmacologic management of pain.
  • Performance measures for evaluating adherence to the guidelines when administering pediatric intranasal fentanyl for pain management.
  • Educational materials for training EMS professionals on the guidelines, including drug profiles for several commonly used analgesics.

The guidelines and related training materials will help ensure safe, effective and equitable people-centered care, consistent with EMS Agenda 2050. To learn more about this project, and to view the new guidelines and all supporting documents, visit NASEMSO's website. You can access other prehospital EBGs and learn more about how guidelines like these are developed on

This article is based on content in the
Feb. 24, 2022 InfoGram.

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