In their new guideline draft—which hopes to improve the way opioids are prescribed for safer chronic pain treatment—the CDC makes recommendations that could greatly reduce opioid prescribing. These physician guidelines recommend nonpharmacological and nonopioid therapy for chronic pain. It states that the addition of opioids should be considered only if expected benefits outweigh risks. Other points: smaller available supplies of opioids for a patient in acute pain; short acting opioids should be prescribed instead of long-acting opioids; lowest possible dosages should be prescribed when starting therapy; dosage increases and maximum dosages should be limited and considered only after major precautions.
Patients and physicians are vary of the adoption of these guidelines. Janice Reynolds, a retired nurse and activist in the pain community, stated, "If the evidence of their [the CDC] guidelines are of the quality of their research on opioid overdoses, then we are in big trouble.” She asked, “The CDC knows nothing about pain management and possibly less about pharmacology, so why should anyone listen to them?” The CDC’s possibly limited view and knowledge of opioids and pain management “increases the misery of people with pain and does little to prevent deaths as most people with an addiction to prescription medications obtain their meds not by legitimate prescriptions.”
To access the painweek.org library of opioid related articles, click here.
To read the CDC’s side, click here.
To read more about the objections to the CDC’s guidelines, click here.