Community Thoughts: New guidelines for prescribing opioids

When the Center for Disease Control (CDC) releases new guidelines for prescribing opioids, many patients who experience migraine and other chronic health conditions may find this to be alarming and unsettling. It also tends to leave a substantial amount of debate and unanswered questions. Recently, we shared an update, “CDC releases guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain” and both our Facebook and community members had a tremendous amount so share. Many were furious feeling as though they are being lumped together into the group of abusing opioids while others felt that this change will likely not affect them.

Here is what else you, our community members had to say...

This will have little to no impact

  • Those of us that have an established relationship with our doctors and have worked on controlling migraine, probably won’t have a problem.
  • My Pain Management doctor has the same practices in place already for patients on opioids.
  • I’m hopeful these guidelines (and they are only that) won’t have a negative impact on patients like me.
  • They are for primary care doctors, and common sense sort of stuff. I get my opioid pain meds from a pain management specialist, who I see every four weeks.
  • These are guidelines, not regulations. I think many of us have already noticed a distinct effect in doctors’ offices in the past few years when it comes to opioid prescriptions.
  • What I think, the word voluntary. So, there are now guidelines. I doubt this will change anything.
  • I have migraines and chronic pain issues. I am followed by a pain specialist. I play by the rules.

This makes me livid

  • The CDC’s suggestion that doctors have been using opioids as a first line of treatment in chronic pain is a joke. I have never heard of a doctor doing this. What the CDC is doing is taking the protocol already adopted by most doctors and publishing it as theirs, and new, to placate and console those who have lost loved ones to an overdose. It’s just a political maneuver and it changes nothing.
  • These new guidelines make me furious. Now I am not only ill, but I am to be treated like a drug addict?
  • This deeply affects newly diagnosed pain patients and people who suffer chronically.
  • Is insurance going to pay for these alternative treatments? If not, then yes, the guidelines will definitely impact me directly – physically, physiologically, and financially!
  • I don't like the idea of additional obstacles for those of us with chronic pain who are NOT abusing opioids. We are getting the medication we need in order to function.
  • I pray that it doesn't affect me. I absolutely HATE taking them but sometimes it's my last chance to get relief.
  • This is terrible for people with chronic migraines. I have used opioids responsibly for years because otherwise I could not function. This is punishing people who need them.
  • This is such crap. Most people have tried everything, including exercise, diet modification, etc., before they even go to the doctor for the first time. This is as ridiculous as medical MJ still being unavailable in many places. The CDC is effectively telling patients that they know better than the patient does whether or not they're in pain.
  • This scares me, I take opioids daily for my chronic migraines. By taking them daily I am able to be a contributing member of society, I am able to work most days, I am able to pay my rent, bills, etc. without them I would have to go on disability and get public assistance.
  • My concern is that this doesn’t spiral out of control to where docs suddenly decide to stop prescribing for patients like myself who need the chronic pain relief and are doing well on the opioids.
  • There they go, creating problems & obstacles for those of us with documented, long running chronic pain. Here's an idea: focus on the problem, which is drug abusers. They are fairly obvious.

Further questions to consider

  • Only continue prescribing these medications if patient shows improvement in pain? And what if there is no improvement, just temporary control?
  • Isn’t improvement subjective? My improvement may not be the same as someone else.
  • Really? Would any doctors prescribe opioids as a first consideration? They are and always have been a last resort for me.
  • Why are you punishing the sick for the addicts? The guidelines are ridiculous for chronic pain patients. Leave us be if we are doing everything by the book.

What about you? How do you think these new guidelines will affect patients?

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