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AHRQ--Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Advancing Excellence in Health Care

Topic Suggestion Description

View Topic Suggestion Disposition (PDF) 1.3 MB

Date submitted: May 20, 2014

Briefly describe a specific question, or set of related questions, about a health care test or treatment that this program should consider.
What are effective treatments and procedures for weaning or detoxifying patients off of opioids?
What populations of patients benefit from chronic opioid use and which should be weaned off?
What alternatives to opioid use (e.g., counseling, support groups) can be used to most effectively replace opioids in pain management?
What are the long-term sequelae after patients are weaned off of opioids?

Relevant patients: cancer patients, the elderly, trauma patients, Veterans
Benefits: better understanding of when and how to wean patients off of opioids


Describe why this topic is important.
With the exponential growth in use of opioids for pain management over the past decade, and increased use of painful treatment regimens often requiring opioids for management, a growing number of patients are now on chronic opioid therapy that is no longer beneficial or warranted, or where risks and harms exceed the benefits. Many patients want and should be weaned off of opioids, and a variety of treatments are in use, often without a systematic approach to the evidence.

Potential Impact

How will an answer to your research question be used or help inform decisions for you or your group?
This is an issue we see every day in our oncology center - many patients are on chronic opioids and many cannot be effectively managed, for a variety of reasons, or have escalating pain issues despite opioids.

Nominator Information

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