New CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Patients with Chronic Pain

About 20,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2014; 3% to 4% of the U.S. population receive prescriptions for long-term opioid therapy. The CDC has released what is considered to be the first federal clinical guideline for use of opioids in adults with chronic pain (duration, >3 months) not related to cancer or end-of-life care. The guideline is based on an update of a 2014 systematic review; at that time, no studies had evaluated benefits of opioid use for ≥1 year, but substantial risks of addiction, overdose, and death from long-term use had been documented. Read more.