The opioid crisis has spurred some health providers to crack down on prescribing opioids. After a recent review, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has clarified guidelines that address this.
An Indiana researcher led a national panel that made the recommendations to the CDC about pain management and opioids.
Regenstrief Institute research scientist Dr. Kurt Kroenke says the issue is not so much with the guidelines, but with some providers and policymakers.
"The problem has been an over-interpretation of the CDC guidelines and not the guidelines themselves," says Kroenke.
Kroenke says the guidelines set up in 2016 have resulted in restrictions for patients who need opioids, including cancer and post-surgery patients.
Kroenke says the CDC recommendations have led to some providers cutting off patients.
"Patients who are in chronic pain, which is about 10 to 15 million Americans, have been suddenly stopped or unilaterally withdrawn," says Kroenke.
Kroenke says there are risks involved in doing that, including reduced quality of life and withdrawal.
The CDC acknowledged the panel report and says it will continue to review recommendations.