March 30, 2016 – No Surprises


Anchor lead:  New prescribing guidelines for opioid medications may affect you, Elizabeth Tracey reports

In the wake of new opioid prescribing guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, don’t be surprised if your physician suggest alternatives to these medicines for pain control.  Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Strain: One of the things that’s recommended in these guidelines is to use other approaches besides opioid prescribing to treat painful conditions.  To encourage for example physical therapy or other interventions that don’t carry the same risk that a prescription for opioids has.  :16

Another strategy is to give fewer pills in each prescription.

Strain:  I think that could be a useful strategy especially when somebody is first starting on the medication. I think giving them a limited number, which is one of the things suggested in the guidelines, is a good idea, and then re-evaluating the patient to understand why do they need more of the medicine beyond say, a few days worth, especially for acute painful conditions.   :23

Strain says the guidelines don’t suggest restrictions for people with cancer or other chronic painful conditions.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.