HealthDay News –   Physician members of the American Medical Association (AMA) have generally voiced support for the new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) clinical guidelines for prescribing opioids, according to a report published by the AMA. The recently released opioid prescribing guidelines are intended to be a “flexible tool” to support informed management of chronic pain, CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, said on a media call with the AMA.

AMA board chair-elect Patrice Harris, MD, noted that the AMA was “largely supportive of the guidelines”. But Dr Harris highlighted several concerns that remained from the draft guidelines on which the AMA submitted comments. “We remain concerned about the evidence base informing some of the recommendations; conflicts with existing state laws and product labeling; and possible unintended consequences associated with implementation, which includes access and insurance coverage limitations for non-pharmacologic treatments, especially comprehensive care; and the potential effects of strict dosage and duration limits on patient care,” she said.

The guidelines are intended for primary care clinicians who treat adult patients for chronic pain in outpatient settings. Their main goal is to help physicians improve communication with patients about the benefits and risks of prescribing opioids for chronic pain. The guidelines include 12 recommendations and are centered on three principles: preference of nonopioid therapy for chronic pain management; use of lowest possible opioid dose; and monitoring when opioids are prescribed.


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Physician’s responses to the guidelines are mainly supportive, but concerns are highlighted, including the lack of evidence informing some of the recommendations; conflicts with existing state laws and product labeling; and possible unintended consequences associated with implementation. Some physicians highlight the exclusion of children from the guideline, calling for clarification that the guidelines should not be applied to pediatric patients.

Summary and Clinical Applicability

Physicians affiliated with the American Medical Association (AMA) have largely voice support for the new CDC guidelines for prescribing opioids, noting that that one major goal of the AMA is to reduce harm from opioid abuse.
 

“If these guidelines help reduce the deaths resulting from opioids, they will prove to be valuable. If they produce unintended consequences, we will need to mitigate them. They are not the final word,” Patrice A Harris, M.D., the AMA board chair-elect, said in a statement. “We plan to continue working at the state and federal level to engage policy makers to take steps that will help end this epidemic.”

Reference

Farouk A. American Medical Association Wire. What physicians are saying about the new CDC opioid guidelines. Published March 16, 2016.  Accessed on March 21, 2016. Source Code