Prescription opioids can be part of effective pain management but they also have serious risks.
"In the last 15 years, deaths from opioids have quadrupled and if you just look at the year 2014, there were 28,000 people that had overdose deaths from opioids. Over half of those were from prescription opioids so the prescriptions we’re writing are a big part of the problem.”
That’s UNMC physician, Tom Tape, M.D, who recently advised the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in regards to guidelines concerning the treatment of chronic pain with opioids.
The CDC’s new guidelines are directed at primary care providers—who account for prescribing nearly half of all opioid prescriptions—treating adult patients for chronic pain in outpatient settings. Dr. Tape says Doctors need to discuss with their patients the risks as well as the potential of using opioids.
Physicians also need to have a strategy to assess whether or not they’re helping the patient improve not only their pain, but also their function.
More information on the CDC’s new guidelines may be found at cdc.gov.