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Opioid Epidemic Week Part Three: Some Thoughts For the Future

I'm sure after reading parts one and two of this series, chronic pain patients might feel a little anxious...and that is certainly understandable.  Sometimes change is good, but sometimes, it's difficult.

Image Source: Wikimedia


It's hard to know exactly how these guidelines will affect health care delivery of pain management going forward. First of all, remember that these guidelines are non-binding. No practitioner, regardless of specialty, is being forced to comply. For those patients who are doing well on established regimens, I do not expect much to change.

The biggest changes, in my humble opinion, will affect those who are newly diagnosed with chronic pain conditions.  The guidelines emphasize that more conservative measures be the first approach to treatment.  Opioids should reserved for those who fail more conservative treatments, cancer patients, or those who are in palliative or end of life care.

There are also provisions in the guidelines for monitoring of patients who are currently on opioid regimens--including careful scrutiny of a patient's usage patterns or patterns of abuse.  Perhaps this is an area where established pain patients might experience the most change.

All in all, if you are an established patient, and you are doing well, I would not worry too much about any of this.  If you are a new patient, all the things I've been talking about in this blog since day one might be in your future!  

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