Case and commentary : Is nonconsensual tapering of high-dose opioid therapy justifiable?

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This case considers a so-called legacy patient, one whose behaviors and symptoms express a legacy of past, aggressive opioid prescribing by a clinician. Some prescribers might feel pressured to taper doses of opioids for such patients, but this article argues that nonconsensual dose reductions for stable opioid therapy patients is impermissible because it both puts a patient at risk and wrongs an individual in a misdirected attempt to ameliorate a systemic wrong. Although perhaps surprising, this argument is supported by current evidence and recommendations for patient-centered pain care.




Rieder, T. N. (2020, August 1). Case and commentary : Is nonconsensual tapering of high-dose opioid therapy justifiable? AMA Journal of Ethics. American Medical Association.

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