In a bid to curb opioid-related deaths in the United States, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an updated guidelines for doctors in prescribing opioid as painkillers.
This developed, after the CDC noted a significant increase in the number of prescriptions of opioids for patients with chronic pain. In fact, data from the center reveals that prescriptions issued as well as sales for opioid have increased by more than 400 percent since 1999. In the US, at least 1,200 individuals die due to opioid related overdose, the CDC added.
Following the release of the guidelines, CDC chief Dr. Thomas Frieden in his editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine wrote that there’s really a need for more studies on the effectiveness of opioid in treating chronic pain.
The guidelines, which was released Tuesday, March 15, laid down some updated protocols as to which cases opioid should be prescribed as a painkiller. The new guidelines highlights that opioid should not be considered as the first-line of therapy.
If opioid is the last treatment option, doctors are also urged to prescribe immediate-releasing type of opioid medicines than the extended-release types. Also, low doses should be the preference of the prescribing physicians instead of the high-doses.
The CDC also recommends that doctors should continually assess the risk of the opioid use and to address possible harm caused by the use of such painkiller.
Aside from asking the doctors to refrain from prescribing opioid for patients with chronic pain, patients are likewise asked to be honest as possible in disclosing their opioid use with their physicians.
Opioid is one of the most commonly prescribed painkillers for patients with chronic pain. But the CDC noted that there are other prescription medicines that are equally as effective than opioid with less adverse effects. Among other painkillers that are more accessible and have equal potency as opioid include and ibuprofen, acetaminophen.