Americans need a roadmap for acute care that explores alternative pain management options


Washington (November 16, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) today sent the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a letter encouraging the agency to expand its Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain to include information on the treatment of patients in acute care settings where they are often first introduced to opioid pain medications. The letter encourages the CDC to address alternative pain management methods that can be used in lieu of opioids in settings such as urgent care centers, ambulatory surgery centers, and emergency departments in an effort to reduce dependency and abuse of opioid pain killers. The CDC released the Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain in March 2016 to improve doctor-patient communication about opioid therapy, ensure pain treatment is both safe and effective, and help physicians determine when to begin or continue opioids for chronic pain.


“Many patients who visit their local hospital or surgical center are treated with opioids or sent home with opioids, prescribed by well-meaning doctors, to treat their acute pain,”writes Senator Markey in the letter to FDA Director Dr. Tom Frieden. “The relationship between the misuse of prescription opioids, heroin, and, more recently, illicit fentanyl, is undeniable…Patients and clinicians alike would benefit from acute care guidance that has the potential to positively impact patient outcomes, mitigate opioid dependence, and reduce prescription opioid-related deaths.”


A copy of Senator Markey’s letter to the CDC can be found HERE.