Are doctors cutting back on opioids too much and too quickly?
The CDC Provides Crucial New Guidance on Opioids and Pain | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Get the latest information from CDC coronavirus. Millions of Americans suffer from opioid use disorders involving prescription pain medications, and each day more than 40 people fatally overdose on them. Although these medications have a legitimate and important role in the treatment of severe acute pain and some severe chronic pain conditions, it is clear that they are also overprescribed or prescribed without adequate safeguards and monitoring, a situation that has significantly contributed to the alarming rise in opioid use disorders and to the related resurgence of heroin use we are also seeing in many communities. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took a major step toward addressing these intertwined crises by issuing new guidelines for prescribers about the use of opioids for treating patients with chronic pain—who according to some studies now account for 70 percent of the opioids dispensed in this country. The CDC recommends that opioids should not be the first line or only treatment for patients who present with chronic non-cancer pain. It is not simply an issue of safety. Recent reviews of the science have found surprisingly little evidence supporting the effectiveness of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain conditions defined as pain lasting longer than 3 months.
Opioid drugs are important medications for the treatment of pain, opioid dependence, and terminal illness. But, these drugs also have the potential to produce physical dependence, abuse, and addiction. Opioid drugs include heroin as well as medications available by prescription such as oxycodone and methadone.
Back to Medicines A to Z. Fentanyl is a strong opioid painkiller. It's used to treat severe pain, for example during or after an operation or a serious injury, or pain from cancer. It is also used for other types of pain that you've had for a long time when weaker painkillers have stopped working. Fentanyl patches are used for long-lasting pain.