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HHS Guide for Clinicians on the Appropriate Dosage Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Analgesics

The HHS Guide for Clinicians on the Appropriate Dosage Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Analgesics was developed for clinicians who are considering or beginning to reduce opioid dosage or to discontinue long-term opioid therapy for patients with chronic pain. Each clinician should review the risks and benefits of current therapy with his or her patient, and decide if tapering is appropriate based on individual circumstances. To assist and advise clinicians, the HHS Guide for Clinicians provides information on:

  • Risks of rapid opioid tapering
  • When to consider tapering to a reduced opioid dosage, or tapering and discontinuing opioid therapy
  • Considerations prior to deciding to taper
  • Steps to take prior to initiating a taper
  • Individualizing taper rates
  • Treatment for symptoms of opioid withdrawal
  • Behavioral health support

For additional information, read The Journal of the American Medical Association’s Viewpoint on the HHS Guide for Clinicians, titled Patient-Centered Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-term Opioid Analgesics: The HHS Guide for Clinicians.