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December 29, 2015

CDC abandons January target for new painkiller prescription guidelines

Some worry this hiccup could lead to more delays

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has abandoned its January target for releasing new opioid painkiller prescription guidelines amid criticism from drugmakers, industry-funded organizations and public health officials, The Associated Press reports.

The federal effort to revise the guidelines, an aim at reversing the national spike in prescription painkiller deaths tied to overdoses, was listed as a CDC health breakthrough to look forward to in 2016.

Instead, the AP reports that earlier this month, the CDC announced it was opening up the proposed guidelines to public comment for 30 days and revisions as needed.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden told the AP the guidelines will remain a top priority, but some worry this hiccup could lead to more delays down the road or scrapping the guidelines altogether.

As is, the guidelines recommend that doctors prescribe painkillers only as a last option and in the smallest supply possible, re-evaluating patients' progress before refilling the prescription.

Read the full story at the AP.