FDA identifies harm reported from sudden discontinuation of opioid pain medicines and requires label changes to guide prescribers on gradual, individualized tapering.
Approach to Improving Safety
Efforts to address the opioid epidemic range from regulation to changes in pain management. This safety announcement raises awareness of potential harms associated with rapidly decreasing the dose of or discontinuing opioids for patients who may be physically dependent on the medication. It also announces a requirement regarding changes to prescribing information for opioids to provide expanded guidance on how to safely taper doses. Health care providers should discuss tapering plans with patients and provide ongoing monitoring and support.