Fibromyalgia Patients and Tapering of Opioid Drugs

Fibromyalgia Patients and Tapering of Opioid Drugs
Despite treatment recommendations against the use of opioids for managing fibromyalgia (FM) pain, an estimated 30 percent of patients are treated with opioids. However, opioid-tapering recommendations are not developed for this patient group, according to a recent study. For patients other than those facing addiction there is a lack of information about how to best taper opioid use, and clinicians lack guidance on how to take patients through a safe and tolerable withdrawal of opioid drugs. While the use of methadone or partial agonists is often employed when addiction is present, FM patients often seek other pain management options and often do not want to substitute one opioid for another. To better understand the specific needs of fibromyalgia patients at pain management clinics, the team behind a new study aimed to describe procedures and withdrawal characteristics of this specific patient group. The work, "Opioid Tapering in Fibromyalgia Patients: Experience from an Interdisciplinary Pain Rehabilitation Program," by Julie L. Cunningham and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic, was published in the journal Pain Medicine. The study describes 55 fibromyalgia patients who tapered off opioids at the Mayo Clinic Pain Rehabilitation Center. In general, higher opioid doses required longer tapering times and had higher peak withdrawal symptoms. The peak of withdrawal symptoms ha
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