In the early days of this blog, I wrote about my perceived overprescription of opioid painkillers, how chronic disease fits in there, and why doctors often don’t have much choice in the matter. It turns out the CDC thinks the same.
“More than 40 Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses, we must act now,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Overprescribing opioids—largely for chronic pain—is a key driver of America’s drug-overdose epidemic. The guideline will give physicians and patients the information they need to make more informed decisions about treatment.” (nationalpainreport)
So the CDC released recommendations for primary care physicians on opioids. Considering the anticipation around the issue, the actual report is kind of sobering. Try to prescribe non-opioid painkillers first. Limit the time these painkillers are given. Follow-up on your patients. No shit, Sherlock! (The big exception to these rules is cancer and end-of-life care of course).
Pharmaceutical companies protested, other critics felt that in these recommendations the focus is more on the danger of addiction, and less on the patient, their needs and, oh, yeah, their opinions on the matter.
As one patient stated in a comment: