CDC Issues Clarification of Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

Written by James W. Broatch, MSW, RSDSA Executive Vice President, Director

Three years after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, which was intended for primary care providers (PCPs), three of the authors recently wrote an article in the April 24th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine acknowledging untoward consequences related to the misapplication of the Guidelines.

For the past three years, RSDSA’s staff, Board of Directors and I have struggled to help individuals with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and other chronic pain syndromes deal with the misapplication of the Guidelines.

Individuals on long-standing high-dose opioid therapy, who reported being abandoned by their PCPs or pain specialists, were forced abruptly to taper to a much less efficacious dosage (90 Morphine milligram equivalents or below) or were forcefully tapered from stable medical regimes without regard to withdrawal symptoms.

According to Thomas Kline, MD, PhD, at least 40 individuals have died by suicide due to physician abandonment, being forcefully tapered without patient consent, and then being unable to find an alternative efficacious intervention or medication to treat their unrelenting pain.

Furthermore, insurance companies, state legislatures, pharmacy boards, and chain stores have also created obstacles for access for opioid therapy for people with chronic pain.

If you are having difficulty with your physician regarding your ongoing opioid therapy, RSDSA can provide you with the NEJM article by calling 877-662-7737 or by emailing [email protected]

If you are on Twitter, consider following @RSDSA, @bethdarnall, @ThomasKlineMD, @CIAAG_Lauren, and @LynnRWebsterMD.

Please consider making a donation to RSDSA today!

Did this post resonate with you? Do you have questions or would you like to learn more about this topic?
Please reach out to the RSDSA team directly and privately using our form and we'll get back in touch with you as soon as possible!