CDC Guidelines Aim to Curb Rx Abuse

The release of the new "CDC Comprehensive Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain" is a solid first step addressing the opioid abuse epidemic we are facing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging primary care doctors to try physical therapy, exercise and over-the-counter pain medications before prescribing opioids for pain. These recommendations are in line with several experts who have participated in PDFNJ's Do No Harm symposium series. However, we know that these guidelines alone are not enough. Education is the key factor in preventing the abuse of opiates and it is vital that physicians inform patients of the potential for dependency when their medicine is prescribed, as well as discuss alternatives as outlined in the CDC guidelines. It is also important for patients, or the parents of patients, to ask their prescriber about the pain medicine they are prescribed. 

CDC Releases Comprehensive Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

Today, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a set of guidelines for primary care clinicians to follow when treating adult patients for chronic pain in out-patient settings. The recommendations established by CDC aim to provide safer, more effective care for patients with chronic pain, and ultimately reduce prescription opioid use disorder and overdose.

The "CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain" lays out specific instructions for the prescribing process from start to finish, advising clinicians to exercise caution when prescribing opioids and primarily focus on nonopioid therapy for most types of chronic pain. However, the Guideline reviews best practices for clinicians to follow when prescribing necessary opioid therapy, including open communication with the patient about the known risks and benefits, setting realistic goals for pain and function, and prescribing the lowest effective dose.

The 2016 Guideline, complete with clinical tools, patient/partner fact sheets, graphics, and a decision-making checklist for clinicians, is available here

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