By Pat Anson, Editor
As we’ve been reporting over the last several days, chronic pain patients had little role or voice in the development of opioid prescribing guidelines recently announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The guidelines for primary care physicians are aimed at reducing rates of addiction and overdose, but they are likely to lead to further restrictions on the prescribing of opioid pain medication for both acute and chronic pain.
The CDC recommends “non-pharmacological therapy” and other types of pain relievers as preferred treatments for chronic non-cancer pain. Smaller doses and quantities of opioids are recommended for patients who continue using the drugs. A complete list of the guidelines can be found here.
While the CDC is no longer accepting public comment on the guidelines, your opinion matters to us and it’s not too late to let your feelings be known.
Pain News Network and the Power of Pain Foundation are joining forces to conduct a survey of pain patients to see what they think of the CDC’s guidelines.
To take our quick survey, click here.
“As pain patients, we already have major roadblocks in our health care system to get access to proper and timely treatment. I predict these new CDC guidelines will have a devastating impact on our pain care,” says Barby Ingle, founder and president of the Power of Pain Foundation. “Many more people will suffer from arbitrary guidelines set by a panel of people who are not in the everyday trenches with pain patients. These guidelines force the same care for all. We are not all the same.
“Taking our survey about the CDC’s opioid prescribing guidelines gives patients a voice in this process. Raise your voice and be heard, something that was not done when the guidelines were drafted. Share your story, share your experiences and share what it’s like to live in the pain community as the expert of your pain.”
Some of the questions we’re asking include whether you think opioids are overprescribed; what effect the guidelines will have on rates of addiction and overdoses; whether pain patients should be required to take urine drug tests; and if the guidelines discriminate against pain sufferers.
In addition to taking the survey, Ingle says it’s time for pain sufferers to step up and be better advocates for themselves.
“We must participate in studies and surveys on this topic, and write letters to those trying to dictate our lives and what appropriate care should be,” she says. “The only way to ensure access to proper and timely care is to keep the relationship between the patient and their providers.”
The CDC is planning to release the prescribing guidelines in January. Although voluntary, some experts predict the guidelines could quickly be adopted by state health departments and licensing boards, making them “standards of practice” for physicians.