Purpose of review
Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) should allow practitioners to follow the best evidence-based management for patients. The increasing specialisation of medicine and pain medicine has increased the number of CPGs, but practitioners are still facing contradictory advice that can be difficult to implement and follow.
A recent comprehensive metareview of 25 reviews have highlighted that the same issues of quality, barriers to implementation and difficulties in applicability are as prevalent as they were years ago when assessment tools (e.g. AGREE II) and recommendations for CPG development were introduced. There remains a lack of consistency of recommendations and quality of evidence for CPGs in cancer pain that impedes the ability to provide the ‘best’ management for patients.
Even the most renowned and apparently high-quality CPGs in many specialities, including cancer pain, still are potentially deficient especially in terms of applicability, implementation, and transparency of conflicts of interest. Despite the increased scrutiny, in part related to the opioid crisis, the situation has not changed. The development of CPGs should engender collaboration with multiple stakeholder groups and focus on transparency and facilitating implementation.