The use of opioid tapering—reducing opioid doses for patients on chronic opioid therapy to decrease their risk of overdose — has increased in recent years but may lead to unintended consequences. In a new study published online on August 19 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Hector R. Perez, M.D., and colleagues at Montefiore found that opioid tapering may be associated with termination of care, or patients leaving a healthcare system. Using electronic medical records of more than 1,600 patients who were being treated with opioids, the investigators found that patients who were tapered off opioids were significantly more likely to terminate their care than chronic opioid users whose doses were continued. The researchers note that termination of care could lead to poor outcomes including increased risk for chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes and HIV infection. Dr. Perez is an assistant professor of medicine at Einstein and attending physician of internal medicine at Montefiore.
Posted on: Thursday, August 22, 2019