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Is Long-term Opioid Therapy Safer Than Tapering?

opioid pain medications

Due to the recent opioid reforms and changes to guidelines in Australia [June 2020], many individuals living with chronic pain have been needlessly subjected to, often dangerous, forced tapering of their much-needed painkillers. Discontinuing opioid therapy for chronic pain is not always possible or safe!

In fact, in America: “Discontinuing stable, long-term opioid therapy may not be necessary for patients who show no signs of misuse – and it could even be safer than tapering or abrupt discontinuation, new research suggests.

Investigators analyzed data for almost 200,000 patients who did not have signs of opioid use disorder (OUD) and were receiving opioid treatment. The investigators compared three dosing strategies: abrupt withdrawal, gradual tapering, and continuation of the current stable dosage.

Results showed a higher adjusted cumulative incidence of opioid overdose or suicide events 11 months after baseline among participants for whom a tapered dosing strategy was utilized, compared with those who continued taking a stable dosage.”

Kevin R James
Author: Kevin R James

Chronic Pan Patient Advocate and Writer. Medically Retired RN [B.Nurs.]

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