Tennessee Pharmacists Association
CDC Issues Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

The following News Release was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC Issues Guidelines to Limit Opioid Analgesic Prescriptions

On March 15, 2016, CDC released new guidelines for prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain. “More than 40 Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses, we must act now,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD. “Overprescribing opioids – largely for chronic pain – is a key driver of America’s drug-overdose epidemic. The guideline will give physicians and patients the information they need to make more informed decisions about treatment.” CDC offers guidance on when to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain; opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation; and assessing risk and addressing harms of opioid use. Also discussed are ways to increase the use of other effective treatments available for chronic pain. The recommendations – which exclude cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care – include three principles for improving patient care. These principles state that 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; and that providers should always exercise caution when prescribing opioids and monitor all patients closely.