Intended for healthcare professionals


Opioids for chronic pain: US doctors are misapplying guideline, say its authors

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 26 April 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1935

Linked Editorial

Managing twin crises in chronic pain and prescription opioids

  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Government guidance for prescribing opioids that has informed most treatment for chronic pain in the US since 20161 is being interpreted in ways that can worsen the harms of addiction and leave patients suffering needless pain, its authors have said.

“Unfortunately, some policies and practices purportedly derived from the guideline have in fact been inconsistent with, and often go beyond, its recommendations,” wrote Deborah Dowell, Tamara Haegerich, and Roger Chou in the New England Journal of Medicine.2

They pointed to common mistakes in interpretation of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, which have been identified by a recent consensus panel. …

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