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Published on Thursday, November 3, 2022

APhA statement on CDC’s Updated Pain Management Guidelines

Washington, DC — Today, APhA released the following statement regarding the CDC’s Updated Pain Management Guidelines. 

APhA applauds CDC for creating a comprehensive pain management guideline and for including pharmacists as important team members in pain care. Because of the significant number of patients currently being treated for pain, it is critical that clinicians, including pharmacists, have access to comprehensive, practical clinical guidelines to guide pain treatment. In 2016, CDC first released an opioid-prescribing guideline for chronic pain, and while well-intentioned, dosage thresholds and other aspects of the guideline were incorporated into laws, regulations, and policies that resulted in severe, unintended consequences for some patients. The 2022 CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain is a significant improvement over the 2016 guideline. 

The 2022 guideline addresses acute, subacute, and chronic pain with a strong focus on individualized care centered on shared decision making between clinicians and their patients. The guideline’s practical information provided in a user-friendly format will be helpful to pharmacists in delivering effective pain care. Most notably, CDC has made clear not just how these guidelines should be used but also how they should not be used, which should go a long way toward curbing the unintended consequences of the past. APhA encourages CDC to collaborate with other stakeholders to address current laws, regulations, and policies that will cause conflict with clinicians’ abilities to effectively implement this guideline and to monitor for unintended consequences of the new guideline. APhA commends CDC for promoting a multimodal, multidisciplinary approach to pain management and for highlighting the need to address health inequities in the provision of pain management services. Pharmacists have an important role to play in pain management across the spectrum, and APhA is committed to assisting CDC in the implementation of this guideline. 

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