Study: Opioid cessation and chronic pain

Opioid cessation and chronic pain: perspectives of former opioid users. – PubMed – NCBI – Pain. Jan 2019

From what I can tell, these were voluntary tapers and people were asked why they wanted to stop taking opioids and what they perceived as barriers to that process. I sure wish I had access to the full study…

Current guidelines for addressing opioid cessation in the context of chronic pain management recommend that opioids be discontinued if the risks outweigh the benefits.

However, few studies have focused on understanding opioid cessation from the perspective of individuals with chronic pain.   

This mixed-method study included 49 former opioid users with chronic pain and used quantitative survey data and qualitative focus group data to identify themes pertaining to former opioid user’s experience before, during, and after opioid cessation.

Participants described several reasons for wanting to stop opioids including

  • lack of efficacy,
  • impact on quality of life, and
  • concerns about addiction.

Barriers to cessation included

  • concerns about inadequate pain management and
  • concerns about the impact of stopping opioids on mood.

After opioid cessation, the sample was mixed regarding the benefit of cessation.

  • Half of the former opioid users reported their pain to be better or the same after stopping opioids; however,
  • 47% of the sample reported feeling worse pain since stopping their opioids.

As the pendulum swings from pain control to drug control, we must ensure that the response to the opioid epidemic does not cause harm to individuals with chronic pain.

Novel opioid cessation interventions are needed in combination with methods of addressing individual challenges and barriers to adequate pain relief including access to and provision of nonopioid alternatives for pain management.

2 thoughts on “Study: Opioid cessation and chronic pain

  1. canarensis

    I can’t tell you how often I miss having access to a med school library! There are so many articles we “civilians” can’t get to at all, or not without forking out large amounts of money. Maddening.

    At least I really appreciated the access when I had it…tho at times I would completely lose myself in the stacks, like when I got to reading articles from journals from the 1800s or early 1900s. Those were just fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: What About Pain Patients Who Don’t Get Better? | EDS and Chronic Pain News & Info

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