The TAPERING trial – encouraging the reduction of opioids in patients with chronic non-cancer pain

Canada is in the midst of an opioid crisis. While opioids can reduce acute pain, the evidence for opioids reducing chronic non-cancer pain is lacking. Although recent Canadian guidelines recommend that patients diminish their dose or stop their opioids, there continues to be an increase in both the quantity and dose of opioids prescribed. Currently 1-in-10 Canadians are prescribed an opioid each year.

While there is no single approach that will fix Canada’s opioid crisis, the TAPERING trial (Trial Applying Policy to Eliminate or Reduce Inappropriate Narcotics in the General-population) will build on the success of the EMPOWER trial, aiming to reduce inappropriate opioid use. To achieve this, community-dwelling adults will be mailed brochures that discuss the benefits and harms of opioids, recommend effective alternatives, and provide guidance for how to safely reduce the dose. Results of the TAPERING trial will be available in 2019.

Investigators: Dr. Justin Turner, Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, Université de Montréal

Contact: [email protected]

Funder (2017-2019): Canadian Institutes of Health Research