The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidelines that urge doctors to first try non-opioid therapies for pain treatment before prescribing opioids, The New York Times reports.
The guidelines call for doctors to prescribe medications such as gabapentin and over-the-counter ibuprofen for both chronic and acute pain. Doctors should also recommend physical therapy, massage and acupuncture, the CDC said.
The new guidelines remove previous recommended ceilings on opioid doses for chronic pain patients, the article notes. The recommendations warn that taking opioids can lead to dangers including addiction, depressed breathing and altered mental status. Opioids are useful in certain situations, such as easing acute pain from traumatic injuries, the guidelines state.
The guidelines do not apply to patients with pain from cancer or sickle cell disease, or those who are in end-of-life or palliative care.
The recommendations are open for public comment for 60 days. The CDC will review the comments and is expected to issue a final version by the end of the year.