Opioid tapering guidelines ‘aggressive and unrealistic,’ international health experts write

International health experts write in a letter published in Oxford Academic Pain Medicine that taking long-term opioid users off their prescription painkillers can be harmful.

The letter addresses two concerns:

Outpatients are rapidly forced off opioid tapering.


Opioid tapering that requires aggressive opioid dose reductions over time.

The physicians group said opioid tapering guidelines were created to decrease patient harm. But, patients using opioids for chronic pain, face additional and serious harm due to rapid opioid tapering dose reductions “that are aggressive and unrealistic.”

The group of international physicians believe that there should be a “compassionate system for opioid tapering.” Also, there is a need for “patient advisory boards to ensure that patient-centered systems are developed and patient rights are protected.”

The letter petitions HHS to use patient data and include pain specialists when patient pain management plans are made.

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