WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. health officials Tuesday warned doctors not to suddenly stop prescribing opioid painkillers to patients who take them for chronic pain disorders, such as backaches.
The Food and Drug Administration said it will add advice on labels on how to cope with opioid analgesics, such as OxyContin, Vicodin and dozens of generic pills.
Federal and state officials have been campaigning for a nationwide opioid epidemic, which includes not only legal analgesics but also illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Fatal overdoses associated with opioids have dragged down U.S.
The new label will warn doctors that discontinuing opioids in patients who are dependent on them can lead to abdominal symptoms, including uncontrolled pain, sore throat, drowsiness and drowsiness.
The federal agency said doctors and patients should agree on a plan to gradually reduce their dose based on their treatment history, type of pain, psychological state and other factors. The FDA stressed the importance of a customized plan, saying no standard method "exists that is suitable for all patients."
Opioid drugs can be addictive and dangerous even when used under doctor's orders, although they are also accepted tools for treat severe pain from serious injuries, surgery and cancer. Prescriptions have fallen in the U.S. by nearly a quarter since the peak of more than 255 million prescriptions in 201
In 2016, the FDA's sister agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said opioids should not be the first treatment for chronic pain and recommended other pain. medications or nondrug options instead.
The CDC said opioids should be reserved for the most severe forms of long-term pain. That narrow use was long accepted.
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