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Opioid Safety: Opioid Discontinuation

How Do You Decide to Take a Patient Off Opioids?

How do you know when or if you should take a patient off opioids? In this Practical Pain Highlights video, a pain expert panel discusses how you know if a patient is not responding well to opioids—and how to deal with diverters.

The panel offers this clinical pearl: If there is limited or no functional improvement for the patient after using opioids for several months, you may want to consider that that is not the right treatment for them.

Joseph Shurman, MD leads the discussion; he is the Chairman of Pain Management at Scripps Memorial Hospital (La Jolla, CA).

Dr. Shurman is joined by:

  • Charles E. Argoff, MD: Professor of Neurology at Albany Medical College and Director or the Comprehensive Pain Center at Albany Medical Center
  • Steven P. Stanos, DO: Assistant Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Medical Director, Center for Pain Management at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • Forest Tennant, MD, DPH: Intractable pain specialist at the Veract Clinic in West Covina, CA.

Prescribing opioids for the chronic pain patient is something that primary care physicians may need to do, so before you even get to prescribing, it's helpful to fully understand the process of tapering a patient off opioids.

Last updated on: August 1, 2012
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