Clinical Practice Guideline at a Glance
Applying the 2022 CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain
The 2022 CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain (2022 Clinical Practice Guideline) is a clinical tool to help clinicians and patients work together to make informed, patient-centered decisions about pain care.
The 2022 Clinical Practice Guideline includes 12 recommendations for clinicians providing pain care for outpatients aged 18 years or older with acute pain (duration less than 1 month), subacute pain (duration of 1-3 months), or chronic pain (duration of more than 3 months). Five guiding principles should broadly inform the implementation of the 2022 Clinical Practice Guideline recommendations to improve patient care and safety.
Specifically, the 2022 Clinical Practice Guideline is intended to help clinicians:
- Improve communication with patients about the benefits and risks of pain treatments, including opioid therapy for pain
- Improve the safety and effectiveness of pain treatment
- Mitigate pain
- Improve function and quality of life for patients with pain
- Reduce the risks associated with opioid pain therapy (including opioid use disorder, overdose, and death)
2022 Clinical Practice Guideline Recommendations
The 12 recommendations are grouped into four areas of consideration.
- Determining whether or not to initiate opioids for pain(Recommendations 1, 2)
- Deciding duration of initial opioid prescription and conducting follow-up(Recommendations 6, 7)
- Selecting opioids and determining opioid dosages(Recommendations 3, 4, 5)
- Assessing risk and addressing potential harms of opioid use(Recommendations 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
Intended Use of the 2022 CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain
This clinical practice guideline provides recommendations only. It does not replace clinical judgment and individualized, patient-centered decision-making. Use the following table as a quick reference for the intentions of the 2022 Clinical Practice Guideline.
- A clinical tool to improve communication between clinicians and patients and empower them to make informed, person-centered decisions related to pain care together.
- Intended for primary care clinicians and other clinicians providing pain care for outpatients 18 years or older with:
- acute pain (duration less than 1 month);
- subacute pain (duration of 1-3 months); or
- chronic pain (duration of more than 3 months).
- Intended to be flexible to enable person-centered decision-making, taking into account an individual’s expected health outcomes and well-being.
- A replacement for clinical judgment or individualized, person-centered care.
- Intended to be applied as inflexible standards of care across patients, and/or patient populations by healthcare professionals, health systems, pharmacies, third-party payers, or governmental jurisdictions or to lead to the rapid tapering or abrupt discontinuation of opioids for patients.
- A law, regulation, and/or policy that dictates clinical practice or a substitute for FDA-approved labeling.
- Applicable to:
- Management of pain related to sickle cell disease;
- Management of cancer-related pain;
- Palliative care; or
- End-of-life care.
- Focused on opioids prescribed for opioid use disorder.