The American College of Physicians is lauding the CDC's Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, according to a press release.
The guidelines address the initiation or continuance of opioids for chronic pain; opioid selection, dose, duration, follow-up and discontinuation; and assessing and addressing the risks and harms of opioid use for primary care providers, according to the CDC. They are indicated for chronic pain outside the areas of end-of-life, palliative and cancer care.
Thomas G. Tape, MD, FACP, chair-elect of the Board of Regents of the ACP commented on the guidelines.
“This is an important document to provide primary care physicians with guidance in addressing a public health problem at a time when many communities are being devastated by the adverse impact of opioid misuse,” Tape said in the release. “ACP particularly commends the CDC for developing these guidelines only as recommendations for clinicians to consider while recognizing the unique needs and circumstances of each patient.”
The ACP specifically noted several recommendations that the organization had made in response to a draft guideline earlier this year that the CDC included in the final guidelines. They included more evidence acknowledgement in using opioids for pain treatment, more flexibility allowing for individual patient needs and more recognition of barriers to non-opioid pain treatments.
"The guideline development effort is both timely and necessary to help effectively address the increasingly clear public health problem of inappropriate opioid use and its related adverse consequences," Wayne J. Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, MACP, president of the ACP, wrote in the organization's letter to the CDC in January. "The College particularly commends the CDC for focusing on primary care health care professionals, who serve as the first contact for most patients suffering from pain-related conditions, and who, according to a recent study, are the largest prescribers of schedule II opioid medications."