Chronic pain not caused by cancer is among the most prevalent and debilitating medical conditions, but also among the most controversial and complex to manage. The urgency of patients’ needs, the demonstrated effectiveness of opioid analgesics for the management of acute pain and the limited therapeutic alternatives for chronic pain have combined to produce an over-reliance on opioid medications in the United States, with associated alarming increases in diversion, overdose and addiction. Given the lack of clinical consensus and research-supported guidance, physicians understandably have questions about whether, when and how to prescribe opioid analgesics for chronic pain without increasing public health risks.
Many medical specialty societies, including CAFP, have been working to provide the educational tools and resources physicians and their practice teams need to work with patients to appropriately diagnose, treat and manage chronic pain, with and without the use of opioid medications. We are pleased to provide a wide array of these tools, resources and links to more information. Please contact CAFP with questions and concerns.