BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. The recommendation has not been updated since 2016.

LSU Health Chief of Community & Population Medicine Dr. Benjamin Springgate says the guidelines are a positive update.

A report from the CDC explains that the previous opioid guidelines were being misunderstood. That led to a decline in prescriptions and millions of people dealing with severe pain.  

Springgate says the new guidelines are positive and that they primarily focus on individualized care. 

“I think it’s helpful because it allows the physician to help people who have pain and give them guidelines choosing multi-model or multi types of approaches,” he said Springgate.

New guidelines emphasize that opioids should not be the go-to treatment and to first offer alternatives. Now prescribers need to create doses and timeframes to meet a patient’s needs, rather than following a strict guideline that the CDC says causes more harm. Overall, the CDC wants to emphasize that a one size fits all approach is not always successful.  

“I think one of the other areas that are really emphasized here is a recognition of how prescribers can help prevent overdoses by paying attention to the type of medication they prescribe and the amounts,” said Springgate.

Now doctors are to first prescribe the lowest effective dosage.

The CDC still recognizes that opioids carry potential risks like abuse and addiction. It also talks about what to do if someone is facing this sort of problem. 

For patients on higher doses of opioids, the CDC is urging doctors to not stop their dose because that can also lead to health risks. 

For the full report please visit here.