Conflicting guidance on opioid prescribing can jeopardize pain mgmt for patients with cancer

PHILADELPHIA (May 31, 2018) – Persistent pain and recurrent episodes of pain are common for those who are living with cancer, or for those undergoing cancer treatment. When used properly, prescription opioids have long been known to help combat pain experienced by people with cancer.

In the face of the worsening opioid epidemic, clinical guidelines have been published by multiple agencies to improve the way opioids are prescribed and to reduce the number of people who may misuse, abuse, or overdose from these drugs. One such influential guideline, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, is shaping clinical care of patients with chronic pain, including persons who are living with chronic cancer related pain in the United States. However, some of the CDC guideline recommendations are inconsistent with the long-standing and current national cancer pain guidelines, such as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), causing confusion among clinicians who care for patients with cancer.

In an upcoming article in JAMA Oncology, lead-author Salimah H. Meghani, PhD, MBE, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor of Nursing and Term Chair of Palliative Care at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing), and co-author,


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