New Opioid Tapering Guidelines

SALISBURY, Md.- In a new effort to combat the opioid epidemic the federal government recently released new guidelines on how doctors should prescribe them. Prior to these guidelines doctors were asked to get patients off of them as soon as possible.

Among changes, Doctors will now be asked to gradually ween patients off of opioids, rather than just cutting them off abruptly.

Previously the guidelines released in 2016 asked doctors to stop prescribing opioids quickly. That’s why health professionals said the new guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were needed. But doctors didn’t respond the way the government thought they would.

Health professionals said that when patients abruptly stopped opioids it caused more issues, like patients searching for other drugs to replace them.

That is why Pharmacist Craig Schury, from Pemberton Pharmacy and Gift said it is crucial to make sure people are tapered down appropriately and slowly is the way to go.

“It’s definitely shown to be much easier on the body. You don’t get any of the withdrawal symptoms and some of the other problems that you would see withdrawing very quickly,” Schury said.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, health professionals recommend talking with your physician to make a proper plan for the patient to taper off painkillers and opioids.

Although the guidelines are issued, they do not have to be followed. Each state can determine how they want to monitor the handling of prescription drugs and opioids.

Health professionals said each patient is different so prescription plans should be handled on a case by case basis.

Categories: Local News, Maryland