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Tapering off long-term methadone: A case study

Kehua Zhou, MD, DPT, LAc, Leslie Frankish, BS, Gary G. Wang, MD, PhD


Opioid tapering may be necessary for patients on long-term opioids. Here, the authors presented a patient who had uncontrolled chronic musculoskeletal pain while on chronic methadone. Upon methadone tapering, the patient had been taking methadone for longer than six years and had severe methadone-related adverse effects. Using multidisciplinary interventions of patient education and counseling, physical interventions, and nonopioid medications, patient’s methadone was discontinued after longer than one year tapering with relatively good pain control. The tapering process highlights the importance of pain management during opioid tapering using multidisciplinary interventions to prevent and treat opioid withdrawal and pain relapses.


methadone tapering, opioid addiction, chronic pain, tapering

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