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CDC Releases Proposed Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids

December 18, 2015—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dec. 14 proposed for public comment new voluntary, draft guidelines for primary care physicians prescribing opioids in the outpatient setting for adults with chronic pain outside of palliative and end of life care. The notice also states that the guidelines are “not intended to apply to patients in treatment for active cancer.”

The new CDC guidelines are a response to the growing opioid epidemic. The CDC estimates that “20 percent of patients with non-cancer pain symptoms or pain-related diagnoses receive an opioid prescription.” The draft guidelines seek to address the “prevention, assessment, and treatment” of chronic pain. Specifically, the draft guidelines address: when to use opioid therapy for chronic pain; recommendations for “opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation, and; assessing the risks of opioid use.

The CDC is accepting public comment for the proposed guidelines through Jan. 13, 2016.


Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
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Telephone: 202-903-0806