There’s no doubt that opioids have been massively over prescribed in U.S. In the haste to address the epidemic, there’s been pressure on doctors to reduce prescriptions of these drugs — and in fact prescriptions are declining. But along the way, some chronic pain patients have been forced to rapidly taper or discontinue the drugs altogether.
Now, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a new message for doctors: Abrupt changes to a patient’s opioid prescription could harm them.
On Thursday, the agency issued new guidelines for physicians on how best to manage opioid prescriptions. They recommend a deliberate approach to lowering doses for chronic pain patients who have been on long-term opioid therapy.