Improving the way opioids are prescribed through clinical practice guidelines can ensure patients have access to safer, more effective chronic pain treatment while reducing the number of people who misuse, abuse, or overdose from these drugs.

CDC developed and published the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain to provide recommendations for the prescribing of opioid pain medication for patients 18 and older in primary care settings. Recommendations focus on the use of opioids in treating chronic pain (pain lasting longer than 3 months or past the time of normal tissue healing) outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.

  • Clinical practices addressed in the guideline
  • Determining when to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care
  • Opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation
  • Assessing risk and addressing harms of opioid use

Assessing Benefits and Harms of Opioid Therapy

Calculating Total Daily Dose of Opioids for Safer Dosage

Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

Checklist for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

CDC Pharmacists Brochure

Non-Opioid Treatments for Chronic Pain