By James R. Morris, M.D.
There is quite a bit in the news lately about changes to federal guidelines for opiate prescribing. Just as new information can lead to new medications and new therapies, it can lead to a change in the therapies and medications we already have. In this case it has led the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) to make several recommendations for chronic pain treatment and opioid use. Perhaps the most reported part of those recommendations is that for chronic pain, opiate prescriptions should be written for a Morphine equivalent of 50mg per day or less. If you take opiates, at your next appointment you are welcome to ask how your prescriptions compare to CDC recommendations. If your medication needs to be adjusted you and your practitioner can make a plan for how best to do this. The CDC has also strengthened its recommendation to avoid taking opiates and Benzodiazepines on the same day. When itís unavoidable, close monitoring should be used. There are many benzodiazepines, such as temazepam (Restoril), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax) and others. Most of the CDC recommendations are already things you likely do regularly, such as regular urine testing, education and discussion, setting goals for pain treatment and improved function, using non opiate medications, exercise and counseling. We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment! If you would like to read more here are some links: