Your questions about the COMM-9 answered

►What is the COMM-9?

The COMM-9 is an evidence-based electronically administered clinical screening tool intended to identify and monitor aberrant opioid-related behavior in chronic pain patients on opioid therapy. It is a brief version of the Current Opioid Misuse Measure (COMM). The COMM and COMM-9 were developed with guidance from pain and addiction experts and input from pain management clinicians, and has been validated in research studies. The COMM-9 is part of the PainCAS electronic clinical assessment system.

►What are the differences between the original COMM and the COMM-9?

The COMM-9 reduces the length of the original COMM from seventeen to nine questions, while retaining a comparable level of accuracy in identifying which pain patients may be engaging in aberrant opioid-related behavior. The original COMM is a pencil-and-paper questionnaire, while the COMM-9 is administered electronically in PainCAS, reducing the burden of scoring a manual assessment and facilitating integration into the electronic medical record.

►What is the difference between the COMM and SOAPP?

The SOAPP is intended to predict the possibility of future aberrant opioid-related behavior in chronic pain patients, while the COMM is intended to be a monitoring tool for patients on opioid therapy is to determine if a patient is engaging in aberrant opioid-related behavior. Both products are part of the PainCAS suite of products.

►Why were the COMM and COMM-9 created?

Experts believe opioid use disorders occur in approximately one third of patients on chronic opioid therapy. Clinical guidelines emphasize the need for assessment, monitoring, and management of the risk associated with abuse, addiction, and diversion as an integral part of safe opioid prescribing practices. There are limitations to other strategies such as pill counts, urine toxicology screening, and prescription drug monitoring used to determine misuse, abuse, and diversion in opioid therapy patients. Self- report assessments, like the COMM-9, may be an efficient, cost-effective, and reliable tool for identifying aberrant opioid-related behavior.

►What kinds of patients should be evaluated using the COMM-9?

Chronic pain patients should be evaluated regularly during the course of opioid therapy using the COMM-9.

►Who should administer the COMM-9?

The COMM-9 is intended for use in clinical settings only and is administered to a patients as a self-assessment. The COMM-9 can be completed as part of PainCAS before a patient’s appointment to save clinic time. Also, when the clinician has reliable information about the patient’s risk status before the visit, he/she has the chance to review the current treatment plan and consider changes if appropriate.

►How are the information and results obtained from the COMM-9 intended to be used?

The COMM-9 gives clinicians a classification of no/low risk, moderate risk, and high risk. The program generates recommendations (consistent with and supported by the American Pain Society/American Academy of Pain Medicine) to guide the clinician’s decision-making.

►With new regulations regarding opioid prescribing being established at state and local levels, does the COMM-9 help to meet these requirements?

Having an automatically administered, standardized assessment and monitoring methodology such as the COMM-9 within PainCAS, that is reproducibly documentable enables provider compliance with regulatory requirements, as the COMM-9 facilitates routine assessments and documentation of patients’ risk status.

Read more about the development of the COMM-9 here.