What is the new opioid prescribing guideline and how will it affect me?
CDC developed the new Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain to help primary care providers make informed prescribing decisions and improve patient care for those who suffer from chronic pain (pain lasting more than 3 months) in outpatient settings. The guideline is not intended for patients who are in active cancer treatment, palliative care, or end-of-life care.
If you have chronic pain and are prescribed opioids as part of your treatment, your doctor should monitor you regularly. This might include extra assessments, a pain treatment plan, more frequent office visits, and urine testing. Prescription opioids can be very dangerous if not used properly. Make sure to follow all of your doctor’s recommendations.
If you are prescribed opioids
- Use them only as instructed by your doctor. Never take opioids in greater amounts or more often than prescribed.
- Avoid these other drugs while taking this medication:
- Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax and Valium), unless specifically advised by your doctor
- Muscle relaxants (such as Soma or Flexeril), unless specifically advised by your doctor
- Hypnotics (such as Ambien or Lunesta), unless specifically advised by your doctor
- Other prescription opioid pain relievers
- Work with your doctor to create a plan on how to manage your pain, and consider non-opioid options.
- Follow up regularly with your doctor.
- Talk to your doctor about any and all side effects and concerns.
- Store opioid pain relievers in a safe place and out of reach of others.
- Help prevent misuse and abuse by not selling or sharing prescription opioid pain relievers. Never use another person's prescription opioids.
- Find your community drug take-back program or your pharmacy mail-back program to safely dispose of unused prescription opioids pain relievers.
Know your options
Talk to your doctor about ways to manage your pain that don’t involve prescription opioids. Some of these options may actually work better and have fewer risks and side effects. Options may include:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Physical therapy and exercise
- Medications for depression or for seizures
- Interventional therapies (injections)