New Advice for Treating Chronic Pain With Opioids

Physicians and patients alike have been concerned by the seemingly restrictive opioid prescription guidelines issued recently by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The argument is that the guidelines limit access to prescription painkillers and actually hurt patients who need opioids to stay functional. Authors have been quick to argue back, stating that they acknowledge opioid effectiveness in certain instances, but that they don’t want physicians to see them as their first or only option for treating pain.

Opioids have been shown to be ineffective for most types of chronic pain and can actually cause more, generalized pain throughout the body. Opioids change the brain and therefore change the user’s perception of pain; the drugs may relieve pain initially, but users quickly develop a tolerance.

Almost everyone who uses opioids for more than a few weeks becomes dependent on them, resulting in withdrawal symptoms upon stopping.

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