Published April 19, 2022 | Originally published on MedicalXpress Breaking News-and-Events
Proposed changes to the CDC's opioid prescribing guideline are inadequate and will not undo the damage caused to patients and the practice of pain management, according to a large new survey by Pain News Network, an independent, non-profit news organization. Most survey respondents (63%) want the guideline revoked, not revised.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a long-awaited draft revision of its 2016 guideline in February, giving healthcare providers more flexibility in how they manage pain with opioids. Although voluntary, the original guideline was misapplied as a rigid "standard of care" by many states, insurers, doctors and law enforcement, causing millions of patients to be taken off opioids or tapered to lower doses.
Although the revised guideline states that "opioids can be essential medications for the management of pain" and encourages doctors to use their own best judgment when prescribing them, many patients and providers believe the changes don't go far enough and may even make the crisis in pain care worse.
"Appreciate the effort, but too little too late. These revisions are like trying to prevent disaster by course correcting the Titanic after it hit the iceberg," one patient said. "The revisions offer no protection against overzealous DEA interference and prosecution, and are meaningless in court. Until the draconian laws spawned by the guidelines are changed, things will only continue to get worse."
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