CDC updates clinical guidelines for prescribing opioids

The CDC has released updated and expanded recommendations on providing pain care for adults with short- and long-term pain, which replace 2016 guidelines. 

The new recommendations, published Nov. 3, address four areas: 

  1. Determining whether or not to initiate opioids for pain
  2. Selecting opioids and determining dosages
  3. Deciding duration of initial opioid prescription and conducting follow-up
  4. Assessing risk and addressing potential harms of opioid use 

The recommendations are meant as a clinical tool to improve communication between clinicians and patients regarding safe and effective pain care, the CDC said in a news release sent to Becker's. "They should not be used as an inflexible, one-size-fits-all policy or law or applied as a rigid standard of care or to replace clinical judgment about personalized treatment," the statement said. 

"The science on pain care has advanced over the past six years," Debbie Dowell, MD, chief clinical research officer for the agency's division of overdose prevention, said in a statement.  "During this time, CDC has also learned more from people living with pain, their caregivers, and their clinicians. We've been able to improve and expand our recommendations by incorporating new data with a better understanding of people's lived experiences and the challenges they face when managing pain and pain care." 

View the clinical practice guideline in full here

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