University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Opioid Use for Treatment of Chronic Pain: An Overview and Treatment Guideline for Injured Workers

Sridhar V. Vasudevan, MD, for The Health Care Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Division, Department of Workforce Development

WMJ. 2019;118(1):61-63.

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Opioid misuse and abuse leading to deaths is an urgent problem facing the American public, and prescription of opioids by physicians is one of several reasons attributed to the sudden escalation of this crisis. To address the issue, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain in March 2016. Prior to that, however, the members of the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Health Care Provider Advisory Committee (HCPAC) raised concerns regarding excessive prescribing of opioids for patients injured at work who are covered by the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation System.

This commentary describes the complexity and challenges of pain management, especially chronic pain, and the Committee’s development of Chronic Opioid Clinical Management Guidelines for Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Patient Care.

Author Affiliations: Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wis; Wisconsin Rehabilitation Medicine Professionals, S.C., Belgium, Wis. (Vasudevan).
Corresponding Author: Sridhar V. Vasudevan, MD, W180N8085 Town Hall Rd, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051-3518; phone/fax 262.285.3638; e-mail
Acknowledgements: The author would like to offer his sincere gratitude to Jim O’Malley, JD, director of the Bureau of Legal Services in the Workers Compensation (WC) Division, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) for his assistance in providing the background information regarding the division, the role of the Advisory Council, and the Health Care Provider Advisory Committee (HCPAC) and for reviewing this manuscript prior to submission. The author also thanks the members of the HCPAC.
Funding/Support: None declared.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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