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CDC Unveils New Proposal for Treating Pain

Comments on draft guidelines due April 11

February 11, 2022

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new draft guidelines designed to provide clinicians with the best practices in treating pain.

The guidelines, which update the agency’s 2016 recommendations, include some noteworthy changes, such as removing strict dosage limits in favor of an approach that takes into account “individualized, patient-centered care.” They also emphasize the importance of using non-opioid therapies as a first resort to treat acute and chronic pain.

The new guidelines come as the nation continues to grapple with a “devastating collision” of health crises and public health leaders urge action to respond to COVID-19 and the opioid epidemic. The draft guidelines aim to ensure clinicians “have the training, education, guidance, and resources to provide appropriate, holistic, and compassionate care for patients with pain.”

The CDC is seeking a broad range of perspectives on the guidelines during the next 60 days, said Christopher M. Jones, acting director for the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

“We want to hear many voices from the public, including people living with pain and the health care providers who help their patients manage pain,” he said. ”The ultimate goal of this clinical practice guideline is to help people set and achieve their personal goals to reduce their pain and improve their function and quality of life. Getting feedback from the public is essential to achieving this goal.”

In the new guidelines, the agency notes that its 2016 recommendations for dosing were not meant to be rigid standards or override treatment decisions made at the local level to manage pain.

“While some laws, regulations, and policies that were derived from the 2016 CDC Guideline might have had positive results for some patients, a central tenet of the 2016 CDC Guideline was that the recommendations are voluntary and are intended to be flexible to support, not supplant, individualized, patient-centered care,” it said.

Interested parties are encouraged to provide feedback on the new guidelines. The comment period is open  through April 11 and feedback can be provided online.

The guidelines also are available for review.