“They didn’t put the voice of the person in pain into the process.”
In an extensive year-end interview with the National Pain Report, Gileno said what many critics of the CDC have stated. The process for developing the guidelines was “flawed.”
“I want to have confidence that they’ll see their mistakes, but I’m uneasy because the federal government’s own procedures weren’t even followed,” Gileno said.
Gileno urged chronic pain patients to comment on the CDC guidelines. The public comment period ends on January 13, and as of this writing (December 31), around 1,300 comments have been received. Gileno said if the public outcry is loud enough, telling the CDC “you are hurting people with chronic pain,” it could make a difference. To submit a comment, click here.
But he’s pessimistic that the CDC will change much of the “scary language” he sees in the CDC draft guidelines.
Gileno understands that there is an addiction crisis in the United States—and that abuse of narcotic pain medications exists.
“Opioids are not an end all and be all for chronic pain treatment, but they do help,” he said calling the CDC guidelines an overreaction to addiction and abuse issues.
“We want options for people in pain and the truth is that responsible use of opioids to manage chronic pain works for millions of people,” Gileno said. “It makes no sense to throw away the baby with the bath water by saying that opioids are always a problem. They simply aren’t.”
He thinks this controversy could have been avoided.
“No one from the three big organizations that have the patient and practitioner voices was included in the process. Had they been, the CDC would have heard that we need many tools in the battle against chronic pain,” he said.
The process as it was conducted indicated that the CDC’s conclusions “simply didn’t care about the pain patient.”
He brushed off criticism that organizations like the US Pain Foundation are unduly influenced by pharmaceutical companies that help support the organization.
“We’re not in pharma’s pocket, we’re the voice of the pain patient,” he said. “We just don’t think you should try to exclude options that work for real people.”
In part 2 of our interview with Gileno, he will talk about what he hopes will happen in 2016 to improve education and research into chronic pain.
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