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Minnesota's Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

Opioid prescribing guidelinesDHS-7701 (PDF)

In response to rising rates of opioid use and misuse, Minnesota's Opioid Prescribing Guidelines (PDF) provide a framework for safe and judicious opioid prescribing for pain management. In partnership with the medical community, the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Department of Health developed the guidelines for clinicians who manage pain in primary care and specialty outpatient settings.

Framework for opioid prescribing

Three principles that underlie these recommendations aim to create an environment of safe and cautious opioid prescribing across all pain phases.

Lowest effective dose and duration

Prescribe the lowest effective dose and duration of opioid analgesia when an opioid indicated for acute pain. Clinicians should reduce variation in opioid prescribing for acute pain.

Halt the progression to chronic opioid use

The post-acute pain period—up to 45 days following an acute event—is the critical timeframe to halt the progression to chronic opioid use. Clinicians should increase assessment of the biopsychosocial factors associated with opioid-related harm and chronic opioid use during this period.  

Three common and influential factors that can predict the progression from acute pain to chronic pain:

  • Pain catastrophizing
  • Fear avoidance
  • Depressed mood

Avoid initiating chronic opioid therapy

Chronic Pain - The evidence to support chronic opioid analgesic therapy for chronic pain is insufficient at this time, but the evidence of harm is clear. Providers should avoid initiating chronic opioid therapy and carefully manage any who remain on opioid medication.

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