Seventh Edition of ASH-SAP Coming Soon, CDC Responds to ASH’s Concerns About Opioid Guidelines

CDC Clarifies Opioid Prescribing Guideline at Urging of Hematology and Oncology Groups

Hematologists, especially sickle cell disease (SCD) specialists, are welcoming a recent clarification from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the agency’s guideline for prescribing opioids to manage pain from certain conditions.

ASH, in partnership with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), urged the CDC to clarify the guideline to ensure safe and appropriate access to opioids for patients with cancer and SCD. In a November 2018 in-person meeting with CDC representatives and a subsequent jointly signed letter, ASH, ASCO, and NCCN pointed to inappropriate use of the guideline by insurance companies to make coverage determinations for these patient populations.

“People with sickle cell disease suffer from severe chronic pain, which is debilitating on its own without the added burden of having to constantly appeal to the insurance companies every time a pain crisis hits and the initial request is denied,” explained 2019 ASH President Roy Silverstein, MD.

In its clarification letter, the CDC notes that the guideline was intended to provide recommendations for primary care clinicians who prescribe opioids for patients with chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care. Further, it affirms that the guideline is not intended to deny clinically appropriate opioid therapy to any patients who experience acute or chronic pain from conditions such as cancer and SCD.

“We appreciate CDC’s acknowledgment that the challenges of managing severe and chronic pain in conditions such as SCD require special consideration, and we hope payers will take the CDC’s clarification into account to ensure that patients’ pain management needs are covered,” said Dr. Silverstein.

ASH plans to publish evidence-based guidelines on the management of pain in sickle cell disease this fall. For more information, visit

Coming Soon: 7th edition of the ASH Self-Assessment Program!

A new and improved 7th edition of the ASH Self-Assessment Program (ASH-SAP) – the Society’s comprehensive educational resource on the latest advances in malignant and classical hematology – will soon be available for trainees studying for board exams and other hematology practitioners who want to stay up-to-date.

Adam Cuker, MD, MS, Director, Penn Comprehensive and Hemophilia Thrombosis Program; Clinical Director, Penn Blood Disorders Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

ASH Clinical News spoke with Adam Cuker, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, to learn about the new edition and his experience as its senior executive editor.

How did you approach your role as senior executive editor for the 7th edition of the ASH-SAP?

My goals were threefold. First, I wanted ASH-SAP 7 to be current and cutting edge. There have been a lot of advances in hematology since the previous edition was published, so some fairly extensive updating was required. Second, I wanted ASH-SAP 7 to be the premier resource in hematology for preparation for the board and recertification exams. To this end, we added hundreds of new questions to the Q&A portion of the book. Third, I wanted ASH-SAP 7 to work for different learning styles. For those who learn best by reading, there is still plenty of traditional text. But to cater to visual and auditory learners, we also greatly expanded and augmented the multimedia elements in the book to include vivid visual imagery and catchy, incisive scripts.

There’s a lot of new content for the 7th edition. What do you think hematologists will be most excited about?

To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, “Hematology moves pretty fast. If you don’t update your content, you could miss it.” In this spirit, we extensively updated all topics in the book. We also included brand new content on hot topics like immunotherapy and checkpoint inhibitors as well as the biology and clinical application of chimeric antigen receptor T cells. We augmented the new content with new multiple-choice questions and multimedia elements.

Taking your editor hat off, tell us about your experience as a user of the ASH-SAP.

ASH-SAP is near and dear to my heart because it was the primary resource I used to prepare for the hematology boards 10 years ago. Since then, it’s been extensively updated and remains the premier resource in hematology for board preparation. Now that I’m 10 years out, I plan to use ASH-SAP 7 for another one of its key purposes – as a resource for preparing for the recertification exam. And along the way, I’ve consulted the ASH-SAP on innumerable occasions as a means of topic review.

The 7th edition of the ASH-SAP will be available May 30. Successful completion of the evaluation component enables participants to earn up to 75 Maintenance of Certification (MOC) points from the American Board of Internal Medicine MOC program. Learn more at

A Year of Growth: The 2018 ASH Annual Report

The American Society of Hematology’s 2018 Annual Report is now available online.

Last year, the Society took the lead on a number of initiatives to better serve its members and the hematology community at large, including the successful signing of the Sickle Cell Treatment Act; the publication of the ASH Clinical Practice Guidelines for Venous Thromboembolism; and the establishment of the ASH Research Collaborative, a mission-focused nonprofit organization that will foster collaborative partnerships, at the core of which lies its Data Hub, a technology platform that facilitates the exchange of information.

Find the report at