publication date: Apr. 12, 2019

Clinical Roundup

CDC issues key clarification on guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain

The American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network said they have received a key clarification from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on prescribing opioids to manage pain from certain conditions.

The clarification regarding CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain– issued in a letter from the agency to ASCO, ASH, and NCCN–comes as a result of a collaborative effort by these organizations to clarify CDC’s opioid prescribing guideline in order to ensure safe and appropriate access for cancer patients, cancer survivors, and individuals with sickle cell disease.

The letter can be found here.

CDC’s clarification letter notes the agency’s guideline was developed to provide recommendations for primary care clinicians who prescribe opioids for patients with chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.

The letter conveys that CDC’s guideline is not intended to deny clinically-appropriate opioid therapy to any patients who suffer acute or chronic pain from conditions such as cancer and sickle cell disease, but rather to ensure that physicians and patients consider all safe and effective treatment options for pain management with the goal of reducing inappropriate use.

“This clarification from CDC is critically important because, while the agency’s guideline clearly states that it is not intended to apply to patients during active cancer and sickle cell disease treatment, many payers have been inappropriately using it to make opioid coverage determinations for those exact populations,” ASCO CEO Clifford Hudis said in a statement.

The CDC’s clarification further notes that clinical practice … Continue reading CDC issues key clarification on guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain

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