Intended for healthcare professionals


Doctors are urged to limit opioid prescribing

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 18 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1614
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. Seattle

Doctors should use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy instead of opioids when treating patients with chronic, non-cancer pain, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said in new guidelines that were released on 15 March.1

However, if opioids are used, the CDC said, clinicians should prescribe the lowest effective dosages, monitor their patients closely to reduce the risk of adverse events and overdose, and consider alternative treatments if there is no meaningful improvement in their patients’ pain and function.

The guidelines, which were released as a draft in December 2015,2 are part of an effort by US health officials to deal with a prescription opioid overdose crisis, which since 1999 has been responsible …

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