Pain Rx

‘More than a dose calculator’: DOs rate the CDC’s new Opioid Guideline app

Prescribing guidelines and motivational interviewing features make this a must-have app for your virtual black bag.


During a routine physical, a middle-aged mom says she’s too achy to play with her children and asks you to raise the dose of her pain meds. How do you respond?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new Opioid Guideline app features an interactive motivational interviewing function designed to help physicians prepare for this type of scenario.

The free app, available on iOS and Android devices, also includes:

We asked two DOs—a pain specialist and a family physician—to take the app for a test drive and report back on its usefulness. According to Jennifer Caudle, DO, and Anita Gupta, DO, the app is a valuable point-of-care tool for prescribers, providing vital educational resources and the latest information about prescribing opioids.

Critical tools, information

Putting the CDC’s current guidelines for opioid prescribing in the palms of prescribers will make it easier for clinicians to make informed decisions quickly, says Dr. Gupta, an anesthesiologist, pain specialist and licensed pharmacist who serves as an associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.

“The morphine milligram calculator is especially helpful to ensure physicians are following the guidelines closely,” she adds.

The app’s interactive motivational interviewing function helps prepare physicians to more effectively spark behavior changes in patients, says Dr. Caudle, an assistant professor of family medicine at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, New Jersey. “It provides real examples of dialogue you can use when discussing opioids with patients,” she says.

Educational resources

Dr. Caudle was most impressed with the app’s numerous educational features, including fact sheets, checklists and pocket guides.

“The resources section is much more extensive than I have seen with other apps,” Dr. Caudle says. “This app is more than a dose calculator. It’s a wonderful resource for guidelines, point-of-care tools and statistics.”

Learn more about the features available on the CDC Opioid Guideline app.

The views expressed are those of DO reviewers and do not reflect official policy or recommendations of the AOA.

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