About this resource:

HHS Non-systematic Review

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Last Reviewed: March 2016

This guideline provides recommendations for primary care providers who prescribe opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care. It includes information on: 

  • Deciding when to start or continue opioids for chronic pain 
  • Selecting opioid type, dosage, and duration
  • Assessing the risks of opioid use
  • Dealing with harms related to opioid use

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used a framework to develop the guideline and made recommendations based on scientific evidence plus consideration of benefits and harms, values and preferences, and resources.

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Suggested Citation


Dowell, D., Haegerich, T. M., & Chou, R. (2016). CDC guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain—United States, 2016. Jama, 315(15), 1624-1645.