July 28, 2021
ASA Urges Changes to Draft Updated CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids
Last Friday, ASA sent a formal communication to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC), urging significant changes to CDC’s draft updated Guideline for Prescribing Opioids. ASA’s recommendations were submitted to the BSC, a federal advisory committee of the agency’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) in response to their Opioid Workgroup’s recent report. The report outlines observations of the Opioid Workgroup on the draft updated CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids. The Opioid Workgroup’s report, presented at the BSC meeting on July 16th, 2021, is the first stage in the CDC’s process to update the 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Based on the report, ASA urges the CDC to withhold publication of the updated Guideline until BSC incorporates the recommendations of the Opioid Workgroup.
To deter some of the misapplication caused by the 2016 Guideline, ASA believes the updated Guideline must include amended language to more carefully balance opioids’ risks and harms with their benefits. The original Guideline resulted in legislation and payer policies that hampered the ability of physicians to provide high-quality pain care to patients. ASA previously communicated with the CDC about the 2016 Guideline, urging the agency to clarify the document’s intent and ensure it is clearly understood and utilized appropriately. ASA subsequently supported the agency’s efforts to update the Guideline and expand its content to include acute pain.
While the updated Guideline was meant to incorporate a focus on acute pain, as written the Guideline has broad recommendations across several categories of pain. ASA recommends ensuring clearly defined categories of pain in the updated Guideline, fully delineating between acute pain, subacute pain, and chronic pain. ASA’s communication also provided specific points of feedback on language and policy for the Guideline’s recommendations, including reviewing the interchangeable use of the terms “harm” and “risk,” and suggesting a recommendation that incorporates the benefits of naloxone in risk mitigation.
Later this year, the CDC will release the draft updated Guideline to the public and conduct a 60-day public comment period. ASA looks forward to continuing its work advocating for safe prescribing and high-quality patient care as the CDC’s Guideline is further developed.
To see ASA’s communication to the BSC/NCIPC, click here.
For the BSC/NCIPC Opioid Workgroup’s full report on the draft updated CDC Guideline, click here.