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CDC to loosen guidelines on prescribing opioid pain medication

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Centers for Disease Control is loosening its guidance for prescribing opioid pain medication for the first time in six years. 

The agency’s previous guidelines were issued back in 2016. They came to be known by practitioners as rigid, restrictive and not tailored to individual patients, especially those suffering from chronic pain.

The working report features 12 changes, some of which include no longer limiting treatment for acute pain for three days and dropping calls for annual urine tests. However, doctors should consider it to see if a patient is using other controlled substances.

The drafted recommendations also suggest avoiding abruptly halting treatment unless of a life-threatening  danger. These suggestions give doctors more control to prescribe and treat patients to their specific needs. 

News 8 spoke with Dr. Kurt Kroenke, primary care physician at the Regenstrief Institute. The doctor is encouraged by the updates.

“I think it’s a very good change,” Kroenke said. “I think what happened when the guidelines came out (in 2016) they were well intended, but there was probably an overreaction from a regulatory standpoint and it sort of took decision making away from the doctor and patient. So, I think these are good changes that they are contemplating.”

A draft of the new guidelines is open for public comment until April 11.