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Weaning down opioids in the inherited patients on high-dose opioids
  1. Alaa Abd-Elsayed1 and
  2. Eric S Schwenk2
  1. 1Anesthesiology Department, University of Wisconsin Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
  2. 2Anesthesiology Department, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alaa Abd-Elsayed, University of Wisconsin Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin, USA; alaaawny{at}

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Patients who receive high-dose opioid therapy for chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP) are at risk for opioid dependence, misuse, and overdose death. Transitions of care between physicians complicate the situation. This retrospective study described the opioid tapering experience of one outpatient pain practice that performed a slow wean over 12 months in patients maintained at least 120 mg of daily oral morphine equivalents for at least 6 months. The authors assessed compliance through patient history, state online prescription monitoring program, and frequent random urine toxicology screening. They reported that 57 of 91 patients who were evaluated (63%) achieved the meaningful reduction criterion at 12 months after the transition of care. The average reduction of daily oral morphine equivalents was 210 mg vs 127 mg in the groups that did and did not achieve meaningful reductions, respectively. The authors concluded that a slow taper in the ambulatory setting of patients with CNCP taking high-dose opioids can be successful in a substantial proportion of patients.



  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. The second author's name has been corrected.

  • Contributors All authors contributed to the design and writing of this work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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