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Patient Pain Management Resources

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Issues Key Clarification on Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.

“The Guideline is not intended to deny any patients who suffer with chronic pain from opioid therapy as an option for pain management. Rather, the Guideline is intended to ensure that clinicians and patients consider all safe and effective treatment options for patients. Clinical decision-making should be based on the relationship between the clinician and patient, with an understanding of the patient's clinical situation, functioning, and life context, as well as a careful consideration of the benefits and risk of all treatment options, including opioid therapy. CDC encourages physicians to continue to use their clinical judgment and base treatment on what they know about their patients, including the use of opioids if determined to be the best course of treatment. Providers should communicate frequently with their patients to discuss both the benefits and risks of opioid therapy and revisit treatment plans for pain regularly to achieve the most positive outcomes for patients.”

Read the press release from the American Society of Hematology here.  

Read the full letter from the CDC here.

Program Manager Comment on CDC Statement

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a letter that addresses their guidelines on opioid prescribing. They state that the guideline should not be used to deny opioid therapy to those patients who suffer from chronic pain. We receive several calls a week from patients who are on long-term opioid therapy whose physician has stated they must taper their opioids. This is simply not true. Patients and physicians should keep in mind that the CDC guideline is just that, a guideline. It is not part of WA regulations or requirements. The letter speaks to the importance of clinical decision-making when treating chronic pain patients. Our opioid prescribing rules do as well. Both the guidelines and our rule(s) leave room for the physician to work with their patient to decide what the best course of treatment will be. Patients should advocate for themselves and bring both this letter from the CDC and the FDA Safety Announcement on tapering to their physician if they feel the physician is tapering them inappropriately. A good example is a chronic pain patient who has been on the same opioid prescription for several years, but now their physician has suggested that they be tapered due to new regulations or rules. Patients bringing this information to the physician may help to begin a productive discussion between them.


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