The CDC Has New Updates to Their Clinical Practice Guidelines When It Comes to Opioids


There’s been a new update to the CDC’s Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain. These updates include emphasizing non-opioid alternatives when available, but also flexibility, which has been widely held as a more appropriate stance for the CDC to take when giving healthcare providers more options for treating patients.

Dr. Michael Sprintz, Physician & Founder, Sprintz Center for Pain and Recovery gives his perspective on the new updates and why they’re important for the industry to take note of:

“I want to applaud the CDC on being very clear about what the purpose of the guidelines are, and they talk about this as a clinical tool to improve communication between clinicians and patients and empower them to make informed decisions. And I quote this, they should not be used as an inflexible one size fits all policy or law applied as a rigid standard of care or to replace clinical judgment about personalized treatment.

And what this comes down to is this is not something that you should be taken that providers should be taken to court for. This is something that is a guide that every patient should be treated as an individual. And there are totally appropriate, legitimate reasons to prescribe opioids for appropriate patients, appropriate reasons.

And there are times when it’s not appropriate. Either the pain condition doesn’t warrant it, or the patient is too high risk. At the end of the day when I’m making a clinical decision, it’s a question about do the benefits of whatever my treatment is outweigh the risks. So that’s really what I want to applaud the CDC for, they really laid out the context of what these guidelines are.

And the last part that I do want to talk about, and it’s really important is at the end of the day when deciding to prescribe opioids or not prescribe opioids, it also takes providers to have an understanding of the risks and the benefits and especially addiction medicine and the risks of addiction or developing a substance use disorder, as well as the risks of overdose that can occur with opioids.”

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