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October 10, 2019

Patient-Centered Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-term Opioid Analgesics: The HHS Guide for Clinicians

Author Affiliations
  • 1US Public Health Service, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 3US Public Health Service, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC
JAMA. 2019;322(19):1855-1856. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.16409

Prescription opioid use continues to contribute to significant morbidity and mortality in the United States.1-4 In 2017, 17 029 of the 47 600 opioid-related overdose deaths involved prescription opioids.5 Nearly 2 million individuals in the United States have a prescription opioid use disorder.1 At the same time, approximately 11% of US adults report daily pain,1 and an estimated 3% to 4% use opioids long-term to help manage chronic pain.1 Although limiting opioid analgesic prescribing to situations for which benefits outweigh risks can improve individual and population health, rapidly decreasing or abruptly discontinuing long-term opioid analgesics can significantly increase the risk of adverse consequences, including opioid-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits.3

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