As part of the urgent response to the epidemic of overdose deaths, CDC issued new recommendations for
prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain, excluding cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care. The CDC
Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
, United States, 2016 will help primary care providers ensure
the safest and most effective treatment for their patients.
The U.S. is currently experiencing an epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and overdose. Increased prescribing
and sales of opioids— a quadrupling since 1999— helped create and fuel this epidemic. The guideline provides
recommendations on the use of opioids in treating chronic pain (that is, pain lasting longer than three months or
past the time of normal tissue healing). Chronic pain is a public health concern in the United States, and patients
with chronic pain deserve safe and effective pain management. This new guideline is for primary care
providers—who account for prescribing nearly half of all opioid prescriptions—treating adult patients for chronic
pain in outpatient settings. It is not intended for guiding treatment of patients in active cancer treatment,
palliative care, or end-of-life care.