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CDC Releases National Standards for Prescription Painkillers

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The federal government published the first national standards for prescription painkillers on Tuesday in an attempt to combat the country’s prescription drug abuse crisis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the nonbinding rules to address use of medications known as opioids, the New York Times reported.

The guidelines, which align with previous recommendations from addiction experts, suggest that primary care doctors first use ibuprofen and aspirin to treat pain. They also recommend that opioid treatment for short-term pain should last three days and not longer than seven days, less than current common prescriptions lasting two weeks to a month, the Times reported.

“It’s become increasingly clear that opioids carry substantial risk but only uncertain benefits — especially compared with other treatments for chronic pain,” said Thomas Frieden, CDC director.


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Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com