Dose Tapering, Increases and Discontinuity Among Patients on Long-term High-dose Opioid Therapy

Prescription opioids dispensing rates have decreased significantly in the last decade and in this study, the authors examine tapering patterns in patients on long-term prescription opioids between 2017 and 2019. In the study period, 26.7% of patients experienced sustained dosage reduction and 9.3% experienced discontinuation. Approximately 1 in 2 patients experienced some period of reduction during the study period, with many having experienced rapid tapers.

Clinicians, in responding to the opioid epidemic, may be tapering even stable patients at rates that exceed recommendations with unintended consequences for patients.

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