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CDC Issues New Guidelines to Physicians In Response to Opioid Epidemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines this year for the prescription of opioids for the management of pain (these guidelines do not apply to cancer patients and end-of-life care). These new recommendations are not mandatory but may be considered by juries when deciding on medical malpractice and lack of informed consent claims. Even the U.S. Surgeon General is promoting the benefits of the new CDC guidelines in a letter he sent, on August 25, 2016, to every doctor in the U.S.

These developments clearly indicate that a consensus has been reached that some doctors (both good and bad) have inappropriately prescribed opioids like--percocet and oxycontin (oxycodones), vicodin (hydrocodones), methadone and fentanyl.

The CDC guidelines include the following recommendations:

  • that physical therapy and non-opioid medications like motrin and advil are preferred for chronic pain;
  • that the physician should discuss with his/her patient the known risks (addiction/overdose) and benefits of opioids as well as the responsibilities of both patient and physician to manage opioid therapy;
  • when starting opioid therapy for chronic pain, the doctor should prescribe immediate-release opioids instead of extended-release long-acting opioids;
  • when opioids are started, doctors should prescribe the lowest effective dose;
  • when opioids are started for chronic pain or the dosage is increased, reevaluate the risks and benefits within 1 to 4 weeks and every 3 months thereafter;
  • when opioids are used for acute pain-no greater quantity should be prescribed than needed for the expected duration of severe pain - "Three days or less will often be sufficient, more than seven days will rarely be needed."
  • before starting opioids the doctor should review the patient's prescription history using state prescription drug monitoring programs and do so periodically, at least every 3 months;
  • doctors should order urine drug testing of their patients before starting them on opioid therapy and consider such testing, at least, annually to asses for both the prescribed opioid and any illegal drugs;
  • doctors should avoid prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines (valium) concurrently whenever possible.

Opioids carry significant risk. From 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 people died from overdose related to opioid pain medication in the U.S. alone. If you believe that you or a loved one have become addicted as a result of medical malpractice involving prescription painkillers, please consult an attorney to find out whether you have a valid claim by calling us. For more information on this subject click the link below.

Lack of Informed Consent

Ronald C. Burke, Esq

Trial Attorney with 30+ Years of Experience Attorney Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has more than 30 years of experience and has focused his career on representing clients in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice and legal malpractice. He is a seasoned trial lawyer and has won many seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients over the years, including many case victories listed among the largest in the history of the state. He has been featured in the news and is a regular lecturer for the New York County Lawyers Association, as well as having lectured before the New York State Bar Association. Ronald is also an attorney with Kelner & Kelner, a New York personal injury law firm. Awards and Accolades Mr. Burke's awards and accolades are many. Among them, he has been included in New York Super Lawyers® each year since 2010, and he has received the highest-possible AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. Verdict Search, a part of the New York Law Journal, frequently recognizes his notable successes after winning some of the highest settlements and verdicts in past years. He was also featured in their list of the "Top New York Verdicts of 2011" and "Top New York Settlements of 2012." He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as before the United States Supreme Court. When Attorney Burke is not handling legal malpractice cases, he is highly involved in the local community. He is a member of the Village of Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department, has served on the local school board and as Chairman of the local Zoning Board. Learn more about Attorney Burke and how he can skillfully handle your malpractice case by contacting the Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. right away to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. Our firm is here to help! Contact a New York Legal Malpractice Attorney Our firm provides each client's case with thorough preparation and aggressive representation, ensuring that you win the best possible results for your case whether it is settled or goes to trial. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Mr. Burke can provide the strong and relentless representation you need to establish negligence in a legal malpractice case and to recover any damages you may have suffered. Our firm can recover compensation for pre-trial and trial malpractice, violations of fee arrangements, loss of income, pain and suffering, and much more. Contact us today!

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