The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned Americans to be extra cautious when buying painkillers because of the increased risk of side effects, including the potential for addiction.
The agency has released new guidelines for prescribing the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone to treat pain, arthritis, cancer and chronic pain.
The CDC said its warning comes amid concerns about overdoses in the U.S. from painkillers, which have been blamed for more than 100,000 deaths, more than a third of them in recent years.
The recommendations follow warnings from other health and law enforcement officials that the drug abuse and misuse is on the rise and that some states are moving to restrict access to painkillers.
Drug overdoses are a growing problem in the United States, especially in states that allow them.
The CDC estimates more than 20,000 Americans died of an opioid-related overdose last year, including 10,000 from heroin and fentanyl, the main synthetic opioid.
The number of opioid-involved deaths nationwide rose nearly 19 percent last year to an all-time high of 5,711, according to the CDC.
In the U and in many other countries, doctors are prescribing more opioids to patients than doctors are giving them.
Experts say the rise is also because doctors are less likely to prescribe opioids to their patients.
But the rise in opioid prescriptions has also prompted some physicians to be more cautious, according the CDC guidelines.
They say there is little evidence that the new guidelines are helping patients or the nation’s health care system.
In its guidelines, the CDC said doctors are using “more caution” when prescribing painkillers and are more likely to recommend that patients consider alternatives to opioids when they need them.
“In recent years, the increase in opioid use in the country has led to increased use of opioids, including heroin and other opioids, in patients and in the communities in which they are abused and abused in,” the CDC’s statement said.
The new guidelines come amid concerns that the growing number of people who have been prescribed opioids, the increased use by health care workers and the rise of the opioid epidemic are all contributing to the rising opioid crisis in the nation.
The new guidelines recommend doctors ask patients if they are opioid dependent, not if they have used opioids in the past or if they take painkillers at all.