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CDC guidelines, chronic pain management, opioid use disorder management, prescription opioids, primary integrative care



  1. Medina, Rosario PhD, FNP-BC, ACNP, CNS (Associate Professor)


ABSTRACT: The increased use of prescription opioids has resulted in widespread misuse. As a result, more than 40,000 Americans lost their lives to opiate overdose in 2016 alone. These data have led to a national movement focused on appropriate opioid prescribing practices. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed its Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain (2017), a template for pain management and substance assessment in primary care. These CDC guidelines aim to prevent misuse/deaths and early identification of substance use disorders. Although the guidelines are appropriate for initiation of opioid therapy, they are not sufficient to manage patients who have already developed misuse disorders. Other modalities such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) have been described as beneficial for patients with high risk for or who have an opioid misuse disorder. This article builds on the CDC's 2017 advisory document by applying it in praxis: first, non-opioid medication therapy options and nonmedication therapy options are explored; next, a case study is presented of an integrated primary care-managed patient who presented with both chronic pain and established opioid use disorder. Although the CDC guidelines were not followed in the patient's initial prescription opioid treatment regimen, those guidelines were used as a starting point for follow-up treatment, helping both to assess the patient's risk for opioid misuse disorder and to determine that MAT was an appropriate method of treatment.