Impact of changes in opioid funding and clinical policies on rapid tapering of opioids in Ontario, Canada

The use of high-dose opioids for chronic pain has raised concerns around opioid-related harms, including accidental overdose and death.

Guidelines in the U.S and Canada, released in March 2016 and May 2017 respectively, now suggest that for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain, clinicians should generally avoid prescribing doses above 90 milligrams of morphine or equivalent (MME) per day. For patients already receiving higher doses, guidelines also encourage gradual tapering of doses to the lowest effective dose.

This study looks at the impact of the introduction of new clinical opioid guidelines and opioid policies on the prevalence of potential rapid opioid dose tapering over time in Ontario, Canada.

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