March 16, 2016
CDC Releases Final Opioid Guideline for Chronic Pain; Addresses ASA’s Concerns about Recommendation on Post-Surgical Pain
On March 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the final Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. The Guideline provides recommendations for primary care providers who are prescribing opioids for chronic pain and 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.
Earlier this year, ASA and the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA) submitted formal recommendations to the CDC offering support for a proposed version of the Guideline while expressing caution that it could limit perioperative physicians’ ability to prescribe opioids for minor, but painful, surgeries. ASA is pleased that the final Guideline states that it does not apply to opioid treatment for post-surgical pain. ASA, however, is still concerned that the final Guideline inaccurately portrays the effectiveness and risks of interventional procedures, which is particularly alarming since interventional pain procedures are a key non-opioid therapy to treat chronic pain.
ASA will continue to review the Guideline and work closely with the CDC and other stakeholders to reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription opioids.