The federal government on Thursday proposed new guidelines for prescribing opioid painkillers that remove its previous recommended ceilings on doses for chronic pain patients and instead encourage doctors to use their best judgment.
But the overall thrust of the recommendations was that doctors should first turn to “nonopioid therapies” for both chronic and acute pain, including prescription medications like gabapentin and over-the-counter ones like ibuprofen, as well as physical therapy, massage and acupuncture.
Though still in draft form, the 12 recommendations, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are the first comprehensive revisions of the agency’s opioid prescribing guidelines since 2016. They walk a fine line between embracing the need for doctors to prescribe opioids to alleviate some cases of severe pain while guarding against exposing patients to the well-documented perils of opioids.
“We are welcoming comments from patients who are living with pain every day and from their caregivers and providers,” said Christopher Jones, a co-author of the draft and acting director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the arm of the CDC that released the new guidelines.
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Source: The New York Times, 10 February 2022