Guidelines for Safe Opioid Use for Pain Relief


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created opioid prescribing guidelines six years ago to reduce the number of overdose deaths, but unintended consequences led to difficulty in getting necessary prescriptions for some individuals. The CDC has now revised its guidelines to reduce unnecessary barriers and improve best practices for prescribing opioids for pain. If you have a chronic condition that causes significant pain, such as back problems, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, or osteoarthritis, there are several important takeaways from the updated guidelines.

The CDC guidelines recommend trying other pain relief strategies before prescribing opioids, making them a second-line option. Those prescribing opioids, including medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone, must explain the possible risks and benefits, including addiction and overdose. Our medical clinic helps patients weigh these risks and benefits and monitor them regularly. If the risks outweigh the benefits or opioids fail to improve daily activities, healthcare providers should discuss how to discontinue opioid use.

Like opioids, benzodiazepines, a class of drugs used for psychiatric services, are also addictive. When combined, they increase the risk of overdose. Thus, whenever possible, healthcare providers should not prescribe opioids and benzodiazepines together.

Non-opioid pain medicines and non-drug therapies are the preferred option for pain lasting up to one to three months or longer. Research shows that these medicines are equally effective as opioids for many painful conditions. While opioids may be prescribed for severe pain, it’s best to take them for the shortest possible time needed and then switch to nonopioid medicines.

HealthCareOnTheGo LLC is your trusted provider of medical services in Meridian, Mississippi that can help you with using opioids for pain relief safely and effectively.

Call our visiting physicians in Mississippi at 601-282-8226.

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