The drive to taper opioids: mind the evidence, and the ethics.

Academic Article


  • The high prevalence of pain in patients with spinal cord injury, coupled with a national recalibration of opioid prescribing, presents a challenge. Prescribers may attempt to taper opioids, where observable harms from the prescribed opioid appear to outweigh benefits, a stance endorsed by the 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Different considerations apply when clinicians wish to reduce doses in adherent and stable patients, absent their consent. In this perspective piece, we acknowledge the problematic nature of opioids as a treatment. However, forced tapers may destabilize patients and clinical evidence to support forced tapers is lacking. We favor an ethic of informed consent when proposing changes to care involve meaningful risk, and suggest alternative approaches to optimizing safety.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kertesz SG; Manhapra A
  • Start Page

  • 64
  • Volume

  • 4