Opioid Epidemic

Effect on Chronic Pain Patients

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines for the prescribing of opioids in an effort to reduce opioid addiction rates and overdose deaths. The impact of these guidelines has been significant on the chronic pain community. In some states, the guidelines are becoming laws. This has created concern and uncertainty for those who are prescribed opioids for their chronic pain. It is now unclear if they will be prescribed their current dose of medication or if it will be tapered without consultation.

The opioid epidemic has affected the ability of health care providers, especially pain management doctors, to treat chronic pain. In addition, insurance companies now require pre-authorization for pain medications, including non-narcotic options, and many health care providers are promoting non-medication options for chronic pain. Unfortunately, these alternative options for pain management can be expensive because insurance plans often don’t cover alternative treatments.

PainScale’s article section “Effects on Chronic Pain Patients” focuses on the opioid epidemic’s impact on individuals living with chronic pain. This section provides information about various topics, ranging from the specifics of the CDC guidelines to how to deal with medication tapering.