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CDC Issues Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

Date: March 15, 2016
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As part of the U.S. government’s urgent response to the epidemic of overdose deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today is issuing new recommendations for prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain, excluding cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care. The CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, United States, 2016 will help primary care providers ensure the safest and most effective treatment for their patients.

Among the 12 recommendations in the guideline, three principles are key to improving patient care:

  • Nonopioid therapy is preferred for chronic pain outside of active cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care.
  • When opioids are used, the lowest possible effective dosage should be prescribed to reduce risks of opioid use disorder and overdose.
  • Providers should always exercise caution when prescribing opioids and monitor all patients closely.

CDC developed user-friendly materials to assist providers with implementing the recommendations, including a decision checklist. These materials, as well as information for patients, are available at www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prescribing/guideline.html.

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