CDC Publishes New Guidelines For the Prescription of Opioids for Pain

The U.S. CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain was first released in 2016 with the intention of reducing the negative effects connected with opioid usage and promoting the judicious prescription of these highly addictive medications. The CDC revised these recommendations on November 4, 2022, to assist physicians in giving patients informed, individualized pain management.

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Pain can have an effect on practically every part of your life, resulting in poor physical and mental health as well as a decreased quality of life. Whatever the source of your pain, you should have access to safe and efficient pain treatment alternatives, as well as open lines of communication with your physician, so you can decide what is best for you.

Non-opioid therapies are preferred when a patient is experiencing subacute and chronic pain. While non-opioid therapy should be used first, prescription opioids may be considered if the anticipated benefits outweigh the possible dangers.

Any form of pain should be treated with immediate-release opioids rather than those with extended-release or long-acting properties.

Clinicians should begin treating patients who have never had an opioid prescription with the lowest dose that will successfully control their pain. The opioid dosage for people with subacute or chronic pain needs to be chosen with caution.

Within one to four weeks, the risks, and benefits of increasing the amount of opioids prescribed for chronic or subacute pain should be assessed. The hazards and benefits must be continually assessed and discussed with patients undergoing opioid medication even after this reassessment point.

If a doctor wishes to raise an opioid dose for a patient, they should carefully consider the risks and benefits for each patient and prescribe the right doses so that the advantages exceed the disadvantages.

Does the CDC Require My Doctor to Follow The New Guidelines?

No. This voluntary guideline provides recommendations only and is meant to support patients and clinicians in making decisions about pain treatment that are safe, effective, and right for the patient. These recommendations are for patients 18 and older in outpatient settings with acute pain, subacute pain, or chronic pain.

These recommendations do not apply to:

Pain management related to sickle cell disease

Cancer-related pain treatment

Palliative care

End-of-life care

The new guideline contains advice on how to decide whether to start using opioids for pain, how to choose opioids and figure out dosages, how long to use the initial opioid prescription for and how to follow up, how to assess risk and deal with probable side effects, and more.

The 2022 Clinical Practice Guideline opposes quick tapering, leaving patients unattended, or abruptly stopping opioid use. The addition of fresh guidelines to assist doctors and patients in carefully weighing the advantages and disadvantages of decreasing opioids or continuing opioids is a crucial component of the 2022 Clinical Practice Guideline. It specifically warns against abrupt opioid withdrawal and quick opioid dosage reduction. Additionally, it advises using taper doses when treatment is stopped when opioids have been taken continuously for more than a few days.

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