CDC issue guidelines on opioid prescribing

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines March 15, providing recommendations for primary care providers who are prescribing opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.

The guideline addresses: (1) when to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain; (2) opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation; and (3) assessing risk and addressing harms of opioid use.

The guideline is intended to improve communication between providers and patients about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy for chronic pain, improve the safety and effectiveness of pain treatment, and reduce the risks associated with long-term opioid therapy, including abuse, dependence, overdose and death.

Drafters of the guideline are Deborah Dowell, MD; Tamara M. Haegerich, PhD; and Roger Chou, MD.