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Opioid dose reduction may benefit patients with chronic pain

Reducing or discontinuing long-term opioid therapy may improve pain, function and quality of life among patients with chronic pain; however, these findings are supported by very low-quality evidence, according to a review published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

“There is little evidence to guide clinicians in the process of opioid tapering, especially in primary care settings, where most opioid therapy is prescribed,” Joseph W. Frank, MD, MPH, from VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System and assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote. “In addition, little is known about the risks and benefits of opioid tapering. ... The effects of opioid tapering on patient outcomes have not been systematically reviewed.”