Opioid Tapering: Safely Discontinuing Opioid Analgesics

Severe hurricanes in the Gulf Coast during 2005 caused many hardships for patients and healthcare providers alike. An important concern coming to light during this time of crisis was the inability to obtain prescription medications, including opioid analgesics. Patients with chronic pain and their healthcare providers faced the daunting task of either somehow procuring the opioids or, if this was not possible, tapering the medications to prevent onset of opioid withdrawal. In response to the crisis in the Gulf Coast, a multi-organization Working Group published “Recommendations to Physicians Caring for Katrina Disaster Victims on Chronic Opioids” (AAPM et al. 2005). The National Pain Foundation also published information for patients regarding withdrawing from medications (NPF 2005). Safely discontinuing, or tapering opioid analgesics is not only a concern in times of natural disaster, but an issue that pain services and primary care providers confront daily as they try to balance the benefits and adverse effects of analgesics.


Author(s) Kral, L.A.
Attribution Courtesy of Pain-Topics.org
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