Previous recommendations left thousands of patients suffering with chronic pain suddenly unable to get medication.
By Michael Praats
New recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosen prescribing guidelines for opioid medications to help patients who need these medications get access to them.
Opioids can be essential medications for the management of pain; but, they carry considerable potential risk for addiction. That’s what led to the CDC issuing guidelines for prescribers in 2016 limiting dosages and recommendations, but these guidelines had serious unintended consequences.
Cindy Steinberg, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the US Pain Foundation, says the CDC’s recommendations led to significant problems for patients that rely on them to manage their disease — chronic pain. She said doctors and other healthcare providers saw these recommendations and many stopped providing these prescriptions, and that had serious impacts on those who need them.
“People were forced off of their medication. Many people were cut off, leading to withdrawal for people that had been on it a long time, not because they were addicted, but because their bodies become dependent on the medication,” she said.