Nearly nine of 10 physicians support the CDC’s draft guidelines on opioid prescribing, according to a survey from the physician networking site SERMO.
A total of 87% of 1,617 doctors surveyed said they would welcome or use the guidelines, which have been caught up in a controversy over whether the CDC was too secretive about its development process.
Despite questions raised by groups like the American Medical Association and the American Chronic Pain Association, physicians hold favorable views of the guidelines, which are expected to have some of the strongest impact on use of opioids in the U.S., even though they are not legally binding.
SERMO, which is a partner of MedPage Today, conducted the survey via email in a random selection of its U.S. membership. It also created an infographic of the findings.
The survey also found that half of doctors said they knew someone personally who has been addicted to opioids; the same proportion felt that the opioid overdose reversal agent naloxone should be offered over the counter.
Most respondents (82%) supported mandatory registration and use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), and 63% said they were registered with their state’s PDMP.
“I am frequently approached by patients with ‘acute’ complaints of pain,” said one urgent care physician. “Since these patients are usually unknown to me, it is difficult to tell if these are truly acute issues versus drug seeking. PDMP is extremely helpful in differentiating these groups and making appropriate decisions.”
But nearly 60% of respondents still believed opioids should be used to treat chronic pain that’s not cancer or palliative care.
SERMO also conducted an additional survey of which tactic would be the most successful at curbing opioid abuse, posting the question on their network in addition to the email survey to garner a total of 1,961 responses.
Making PDMPs interoperable across state lines was seen as the most useful strategy (43%), followed by more education for physicians on proper opioid prescribing practices (20%).
“While there are some patients that need pain medications, there are several that have now become addicted and I think physicians need more training in not only how to prescribe pain meds properly but also how to cut back appropriately as well,” said one internal medicine physician.
The same proportion chose increased access to medication-assisted treatment programs and more education for patients at risk (14%). Only 7% chose increased access to naloxone, and just 2% voted for needle exchange programs.