Stethoscope on workplace

The Importance Of Patient-Centric Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

In light of an opioid crisis that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, health authorities and regulators have attempted to reduce the number of opioids prescribed to patients by forced tapering or the institution of quotas. While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advocates tapering and, in some cases, discontinuing opioids in patients who have used using them as long-term therapy for non-malignant chronic pain, it purposely designed its guideline as non-mandatory. However, a number of legislators, pharmacies, and payers have perhaps misinterpreted the recommendations and turned them into compulsory limits and quotas. In certain instances, mandatory opioid tapers may do more harm than good, medical experts warn in a letter published in the journal Pain Medicine. The letter states that “rapid forced tapering can destabilize patients, lead to a worsening of pain, precipitate severe opioid withdrawal symptoms and cause a profound loss of function.”

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