New Audio Available for Media Use: New CDC Guidelines on the Prescription of Opioids


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator

New Audio Available for Media Use: New CDC Guidelines on the Prescription of Opioids

BALTIMORE, MD, November 9, 2022 – New audio is available for media use featuring Hui Zhao, a professor of supply chain management and Charles and Lilian Binder Faculty Fellow at The Pennsylvania State University. She speaks about new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on the prescriptions of opioids. The audio is provided by INFORMS, the largest association for the decision and data sciences. What follows are four questions and responses. These responses were provided on November 8, 2022.



Question 1: What changes will be made by the CDC with regard to the prescription of opioids?

Time Cue: :27, Soundbite Duration: :44

“So, this new guidance is on for clinicians on how and when to prescribe opioids for pain serving as a roadmap for prescribers for the very complicated issue of treating pain. So, while the new guidelines still emphasize that opioids should not be the go-to treatment in many cases - and there are alternative approaches for pain management - it also emphasizes most importantly, to individualize the care and physicians’ clinical judgment, such that the physicians really should work with the patients who are in pain to find the best plan even if that means continuing them on opioids.”  



Question 2: What is the rationale behind the change?

Time Cue: 1:17, Soundbite Duration: :56 

“So, the new guideline revamps the agency's 2016 guideline which was largely viewed as being very strict curbing (the) prescribing of opioids. So CDC officials said that the old guidelines were sometimes misapplied, causing some patient significant harm, including for example, untreated or under-treated pain, worsened pain outcome, psychologically induced stress, overdose. You know and so on and so forth. So, the old one - the old guideline in 2016 - seemingly feels like just cutting down on opioids you know, versus the new one focuses on as I mentioned more individualized care and really focused on caring more about the patients who are living in pain, helping them to manage the pain through more appropriate approaches than just cutting opioids.”



Question 3: What is the anticipated outcome of the changes? 

Time Cue: 02:17, Soundbite Duration: :52

“So, I think the new guideline is a welcome to step. Doctors, I feel like they would be able to more objectively discuss with their patients and have a holistic approach of pain management, including an opioid as an option when necessary. But for any of these changes it also takes time to correct from what we used to have, which means the impact from the 2016 guideline.  So, we'll still have to see if these positive outcomes could be realized. Especially, I think the doctors, the insurers, the pharmacies, the regulators and even the law enforcement, have all been working toward this goal of a holistic approach of pain management before we see these positive outcomes to be realized.”



Question 4: What should patients keep in mind if their doctor wants to prescribe opioids?

Time Cue: 03:15, Soundbite Duration: 1:07

“So, the patient should ask about alternative approaches for pain management if their doctors haven't discussed with them yet. Once presented by their doctors with various options the patient should be also open-minded in considering alternative new approaches, and discuss pros and cons with their doctors about the various different ways of pain management. And once opioid use was still determined by they - the patients and their doctors - to be the best option, then I would suggest that the patient should be sure that they understand the instructions on taking opioids. Specifically ask about the potential risks if they deviate from the instructions. They know the risks when they take these opioids.  And also, possibly they should ask how to deal with any leftover opioids. Is there any recycling program to safely take away these extras – this is just reducing their risks of overdosing or potential addiction.” 


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With more than 12,000 members from around the world, INFORMS is the largest association for the decision and data sciences, made up of professionals and students. INFORMS members support organizations and governments at all levels as they work to transform data into information, and information into insights that lead to more efficient, effective, equitable and impactful results.