FDA Issues Safety Message on Sudden Discontinuation of Opioid Pain Medicine

FDA Issues Safety Message on Sudden Discontinuation of Opioid Pain Medicine

The FDA put out a safety announcement this week that says it has identified harm reported from sudden discontinuation of opioid pain medicines and is requiring label changes to guide prescribers on gradual, individualized tapering.

The agency said it received reports of serious harm in patients who are physically dependent on opioid pain medicines suddenly having these medicines discontinued or the dose rapidly decreased. These include serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, psychological distress, and suicide.

Doctors who are simply reducing and eliminating opioid prescriptions from long time chronic pain patients will be warned not to do that.

“These changes will provide expanded guidance to health care professionals on how to safely decrease the dose in patients who are physically dependent on opioid pain medicines when the dose is to be decreased or the medicine is to be discontinued.”

“Rapid discontinuation,” the release continues, “can result in uncontrolled pain or withdrawal symptoms. In turn, these symptoms can lead patients to seek other sources of opioid pain medicines, which may be confused with drug-seeking for abuse. Patients may attempt to treat their pain or withdrawal symptoms with illicit opioids, such as heroin, and other substances.”

“Health care professionals should not abruptly discontinue opioids in a patient who is physically dependent. When you and your patient have agreed to taper the dose of opioid analgesic, consider a variety of factors, including the dose of the drug, the duration of treatment, the type of pain being treated, and the physical and psychological attributes of the patient. No standard opioid tapering schedule exists that is suitable for all patients. Create a patient-specific plan to gradually taper the dose of the opioid and ensure ongoing monitoring and support, as needed, to avoid serious withdrawal symptoms, worsening of the patient’s pain, or psychological distress.”

“Patients taking opioid pain medicines long-term should not suddenly stop taking your medicine without first discussing with your health care professional a plan for how to slowly decrease the dose of the opioid and continue to manage your pain. Even when the opioid dose is decreased gradually, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal.”

Contact your health care professional if you experience increased pain, withdrawal symptoms, changes in your mood, or thoughts of suicide.

Here’s the link to the FDA release.

If you have a follow up conversation with your doctor or other health care provider about this, let us know how it goes.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Signe Topai

I went out of my comfort zone and carefully planned a camping trip with my sister. I took only the meds I needed for trip. I locked up all my remaining pills. When I got home my lockbox was destroyed and all my pills were taken. When I called Kaiser Permanente Urgent care they refused to see me and wouldn’t treat me. I told the doctor about the latest CDC report warning physicians on the dangers of tapering opiates and stopping meds to quickly. Guess what? He didn’t care! He also was unaware of the report. Please join the Don’t Punish Pain movement!! Look it up online if you are unaware of it. I am going to be detoxing on my own and wishing I was dead. God help us all!

r. p.

I really got to laugh at such an ill attempt to “satisfy” pain sufferers all over this country! This has been information that has been around for several DECADES! This is NOT NEW information-period! The only thing that is new is the sadistic way the Gov’t has “suggested” to deal with chronic pain sufferers as the same as the “high” seeking opioid users! I will sign up for ANY class-action lawsuit I can find if one ever comes along! Why are there not any yet? Dr’s should be lining up outside Washington and/or State Legislators Offices in support for their patients who cannot even get themselves out of bed caused by such severe pain! Why are they going along with this in utter silence? Has the World of Medical Professionals gone INHUMANE and DO HARM to save their careers? I am stunned and amazed at such complacency by so many medical doctors and PCP’s…SHAME ON ALL OF YOU! You have left my life a mess and on a full stop mode-period! I don’t even want to look at a doctor or any other medical professional again after what I have been left to suffer after 15yrs+ taking my pain meds responsibly. What did I do wrong in order to be treated like a “drug addict” instead of a patient who can manage their pain with ongoing pain meds but cannot without them as has been the case since Feb. 2019.

Compound Injury

I rarely took an aspirin until my industrial accident happened to me when my back was smashed and the company I worked for sent me to “their doctor” for over 2 years until my Gen Dr. intervened and had me consult a neurosurgeon who after tests was amazed I was still walking and gave me 50% chance of paralysis if I didn’t get immediate surgery and 25% if I did. So I got the surgery and luckily they didn’t have to fuse my vertebrae; but he didn’t give me support stockings or blood thinner and 10 days later I got blood clots and that caused a heart attack. So fast forward to today where now I have multiple ailments attributed to the first one and Obamacare had original Dr. taken away from me, now PM dr. has Practitioner now in the clinic who wants to eliminate all use of opioids and I am made to feel as if I am almost restating my case every single time I see her as to why I need meds considering my deteriorating condition. I have gone from a healthy business owner to par time and now forced retirement to the point of being bedridden a couple of days a week as the pain has gotten so bad. When I express the fear of yet another surgery it’s like she believes this will be the instant cure and get me off the meds; while is see it as pushing me to point of immeasurable pain. I had a good friend who in the almost same position went to the group of Final Exit as he could no longer bear the pain and had no belief the prognosis was ever going to be better. So instead of the entire purpose of Pain Management the government has stepped in and wedged itself into peoples lives and told Doctors to not just decrease but eliminate the only prospect for continuing to exist and live a half way close to normal life. I am saddened by the loss of my friend but I know he is not suffering anymore and for that to be the only choice left for some is a crime against humanity. I tell people to pray they Never get hurt as it rolls a snowball into an avalanche of your health downhill.

Sharon Jepson

This is the most misguided and ignorant information I have ever seen in my lifetime. What the FDA has done is leave people who truly need those opioids out in the cold when there is nothing else to give them. This goes much further than opioids and the effects of not taking them any longer. This I know because no person could have been on a stronger dosage than myself. Pain doctors treat pain patients like trash. They take away any and all their rights. They place all pain patients in one category and that is of an addict. Every pain doctor does this and have treated pain patients worse than animals.

The FDA is not helping the true pain patients. They have made it to where doctors will be severely penalized for writing a script for an opioid. Now what the FDA has done is penalize everyone for what some people have done and there is nothing right about this. When a person is older and cannot tolerate surgery what are they supposed to go? The FDA is not telling the truth about the opioid crisis. They are talking about addicts and there is a line between addicts and the patient who truly needs that pain medication.

They are now in the process of setting up all these drug rehab clinics for people to cut them off opioids and 3/4 of these people do not need to be in rehab. I just got off pain meds because the way I was treated by the pain management doctors. There are some people like me with an auto immune disease that cannot take anything else. Forcing a person to go to a rehab clinic when it is not necessary is cruel and inhumane. More than that in this country forcing a person to be in pain is cruel and inhumane. Never did I think our USA would come to this to where someone will die in pain rather than be treated for it. There are many things wrong in this scenario that the FDA is forcing upon people who are no drug addict but in need pain medications but the FDA refusal to allow doctors to write that script is all kinds of wrong.

McKinley Joseph Recek

This would ruin lives and destroy people’s health. Whoever is saying to discontinuation of opioids is ignorant and hasn’t done the proper research into the benefits

r. p.

In addition to my last post I’d like to add that after 15yrs+ I was dosed with 6- 10mg of Methadone (not for drug abuse but pain only) plus 4- 5mg. oxycodone per day and was told here’s 1/2 what you were usually getting for a month and I don’t feel comfortable prescribing opioids to my patients so you’ll have to find another dr. for pain but I will continue with your HIV treatment going forward. Well I told her I wouldn’t be coming there any longer because I felt abandoned by her 1/2 script and acting like it was no big deal. Who’s comfort are we talking about anyway, hers or mine?! It was absolutely cold dismissal to me and I would never see .
any dr. with only their comfort in mind and total disregard for mine. There is no reason for me to prolong my life by taking HIV meds or any of the other meds I’ve been on for many yrs just to have to suffer even longer now is there?! This is inhumane and even barbaric to say the least. It shouldn’t be more than a yr or yr and a half before I won’t need to suffer any longer. The HIV will progress to AIDS as I’ve had it before but I won’t stop it’s progression so hopefully it is as soon as possible! I neverr thought I’d ever wish this to be my life’s story but it is being written as the weeks pass. Who should I blame (thank) for what my life has now become? The Governor of Massachusetts who quickly passed this law or the medical establishment who readily and sheepishly goes along with this cruel policy? Who will my family sue after the inevitable happens to me? Chronic pain sufferers like myself have truly been neglected and held accountable for those who have only used opioids to get some high or move on to even stronger opioids like fentanyl and/or heroin. It seems a bit out of touch with the “real opioid crisis” as they put everyone in the same group which is a big LIE!

r. p.

Well how wonderful. It sure didn’t matter to my last dr. who took over for my retired physician in Jan. 2019. I was given 1/2 (2 wks) my normal amount of pain meds and told I needed to find another dr. to treat my pain. It was extremely difficult in that short time to ween myself off all opiates after taking them for over 15 yrs. Being the gov’t policy has taken any life I was able to have with pain management away from me I have decided to discontinue all my medications including the one I take for HIV because I don’t want to live any longer than I need to with such severe chronic pain. It is not suicide per se; it is just letting nature take it’s course.


Fear of reprisals from the medical establishment is a patients constant shadow and nightmare.
To allow one’s self to expose there true feelings to a physician can destroy a patients care and create a change there medication.
The guidelines, regulations, and
plans of care can regulate a patient out of being truthful about depression, suicidal thoughts, and care at home.
It’s a game one has to engage in to receive the medication for quality of life.
As a retired RN I’ve seen this role play out many times.
The CDC, FDA, etc….. Place patients on a tight rope while illegal drugs are done so freely.
A patient who follows all the rules, guidelines, and plans of care can not rest with the knowledge of knowing there care will be continuous and without interruption. But the opposite has occurred and all any one can do is write more guidelines, set up questions to ask, and spend precious time on useless ideals while patients are in tragic pain.
This is a travisty, dehumanising, debasing, bulling, profiling, targeting, and placeing the patients in HARM’S way.
This is an act of criminal medical negligence by stripping the patient’s unalienable rights as a citizen of these United States to medical care that meets the patients needs as prescribed by there practicing physician.
Shame on all of you the CDC, FDA, etc…. Your all committing
medical negligence and ignoring your oath of “first do no harm”.
This is a crime of medical negligence.


The powers that be CDC,FDA, etc….are responsible for the patients that have committed suicide, having withdrawals, getting illegal drugs from other countries, and living a debelitateing life 24/7. The charges of genocide by suicide,
duediligence, negligence, ignoring “first do no harm”, and not seeking from physician’s who are the chronic pain patients.
This is a tragic travisty development of guidelines with out duediligence on a continuous basis until patients committed suicide and or quality of life so ravaging they are unable to even perform ADL’s.
Our country has a history of tragic travisties. Syphilis study, third world countries encouraged to bottle feed babies with formula, radiating newborns thyroids. Many deaths deaths from these
tragic educated leaders.
The powers that be have destroyed lives, bullied, demeaned, sacrificed patients,
accomplis to suicides, labeled, profiled, and committed a travisty
to patients that will never recover from this. Educated leaders of these United States of America that we the very citizens who provide there paycheck to destroy our quality of life.
This will go down in history as a travisty of medical incompetence and duediligence.
The families whose loved one committed suicide I pray stand up and cry injustice. The powers that be will continue to live there lives without consquences. Those lives whom they have shattered are the collateral damage of the powers that be.


My pain management Dr was suddenly shut down and my primary care Dr does not give me any choice, he doesn’t believe in pain medication so I have been cut off with no tapering. There are no available pain management Doctors in my area. Makes it very difficult to get through this.


the label being added by pharmacy, how it affective? if 1 isn’t prescribed it they never get
a label and the doctor is one needing instructed on prescribing without suddenly stopping, and pain contracts say you agree to not stop the med suddenly, but pain doctors are not required to agree to that same condition, so this label to taper is only to cover their pockets from blame, , since they realize how many it affected, it will be their out and cover them from responsibility, they didn’t and still don’t genuinely care about anyone or their being affected or harm risk, only their liability being covered and they can even announce their response was from their compassionate humanitary concern. OK I’m done now


MEANWHILE, after encouraging the immediate discontinued prescriptions, i and learning that is bad and should not be done, this tapering order will help people who begin taking them very recently, however those many who are being harmed by the fact you just dove in so quick to order it, instead of the research your just doing after the fact, those who have died at your irresponsible power and authority, AND THE VERY PEOPLE AFFECTED AND BEING HARMED, CAUSING YOUR ATTENTION NOW, will not be able to taper because no doctor will want to hear it and will dismiss it immediately. so who should be held accountable? if President Trump was one who gave speech that its ordered to stop the prescribing, so many would be pushing to sue him, impeach him and charge for murder, and thatd be Congress jumping on that opportunity, but it wasn’t so we should understand and be grateful were soldiers dying so others later can be tapered. i have taken pain meds every day since 1996, i even told my doctor that informed me outta the blue, he cant prescribe or taper, I’d just go home and blow my head off! his reply was “yeah, the cdc and fda are not allowing us to prescribe it, and patients are the ones that having to pay for so many abusing it, and that was end of discussion I had to wait for referrals to pain management, but the one who hurried to order the immediate discontinued med. isn’t even a medical care provider as even being a CNA, but that’s who is practically is treating patients,

And yet the day before the FDA made its announcement, the CDC, along with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, released the results of its November 2018 meeting with those agencies and clarified the “guidelines” for us.

They never meant for cancer, post cancer, palliative, or sickle cell disease patients to be caught up in the reductions. They made no mention of any other painful disease.


Doctors already know this so why should they have to be told. The idea that positions have to be told this is the most stupidest thing and they’re only being towed because of many patients being abandoned and the shutdown of many clinics leaving patients without medications in the case of the pain clinic comprehensive Pain management had like over 300 clinics that just shut down one day. Leaving their patients without their pain medications. This probably killed a lot of people. Causing many patients to go into heart attacks and die. Or taking their own life.


I hope this helps some people. I think it’s coming too late to help me but I truly hope others will benefit. My pain doctor dropped me after I was in a minor car accident was very sore the next day went to the ER and they gave me 8 5 mg Percocets. I was taking 320 mg oxymorphone E R’s a day. The emergency room doctor gave me the eight Percocets for breakthrough pain called my pain doctors office to inform them what he done and why he did it and two and a half weeks later on my next visit she asked me if I took drugs from another physician I said no I did not go to a doctor’s office I did however go to the emergency room as we’re instructed to do. She asked me if I filled the prescription for the eight Percocets I said yes I did she ask me if I took them I said yes I did she told me she could no longer treat me etcetera I had a prescription that day for 30 days worth of the meds and figured I would get another pain doctor. I called 27 of them in the next 30 days none of them would treat me. On the 28th day I called my old pain doctors office told them I was unable to get in anywhere and my understanding of the law was since I could get in nowhere she had to continue to treat me until I did. I was told that it’s been 31 days since I had been in the office and that they couldn’t do anything for me and hung up. I don’t know how they count but by my accountant by anyone else is it was either 28 or 29 days but I guess that doesn’t really matter. When I ran out of my meds I made it about three days and I couldn’t take the pain anymore. So I went to the streets and got stuff the only thing my friend could get me was well it was actually fentanyl not heroin . Since then the longest I’ve gone with nothing is 27 days. At that point I could take it no more and went back to the streets. I have had many surgeries there is nothing more they can do to help me in that way. They need to fix this so I can stop being a criminal. Thank you for the opportunity to vent.

Joanna Pinne"Cra

We can say the same stuff over and over again for another three years, “Where are the class action law suits?” and “Why is the US government carrying out this ‘genocide’?” But unless each and every individual who is impacted by this horrible situation takes responsibility for their own lives and stops whining and complaining about their powerlessness, nothing will change. Clearly the ‘system’ cannot be changed to any appreciable degree by ‘advocacy’, even such fantastic work as Mr. Lawhern has done. So we need to each take ourselves out of ‘victim’ mode, get right with our God, and pursue our own freedom. Unless this happens, nothing will change for us as individuals.


I had only been taking for 2 yrs the past not Dr took me off offered nothing else then for day I was felling worse than I was I was never told about stopping and how body would react. I am tired of trying to find relief no answers no help but plz take care of people who never worked a day in their life. It’s too back I have to suffer hoping one day soon I will not wake up. No one should be denied help. Patients do not come 1st and most care little unless u have flu or cold csorry but having bad bad day


The federal agencies responsible for this national travesty made up their “facts” & “data” to ensure their own job security. AND they’re getting away with it! “FDA issues safety message” blah blah blah. Where’s the CDC? DEA? They should all be jailed. It’s criminal what they’ve done and personally I hope they all spend years lingering in horrid, chronic, intractable pain.


Doesn’t this statement prove that the FDA knew forced tapers and withdrawals were dangerous 3 yrs ago when the CDC were pushing the doctors to do this, but said nothing?? NOW they speak up? Too late, way too late for all who have suffered!


Forced tapering of any kind is cruel and inhumane. The FDA clearly and purposely stops short of saying this, so their notice should read: Guidance for torturing chronic pain patients without killing them altogether. With what other medicine in existence are doctors guided through the means to taper it while the symptoms it’s treating remain and even worsen? Oh, but then I forgot, we’re supposed to take Tylenol.

Jeanette French

Reall?? you really think this is gonna bring back the dead…? and you really think this will stop pain patients from suffering and having their meds taken away when there is no reason to do so, they were functional human being and you took that away and not they have taken their lives and all you can say is this…how about rescinding the cdc guidelines and stop telling pain specialist to stop treating pain patients. Stop this now, pain patients are not the reason for the overdoses, this has been made crystal clear now, so please STOP IT. You sit there and play games with people’s lives, you idiots, you did not have one pain specialist on the board that made these cdc guidelines or any of the laws, why did you not consult specialist before doing something this stupid. You bet I am angry, we all are, and now Not one pain patients has any trust ,eft in you at all.You killed many patients and it is on your heads, not anyone else’s, yours, Hope you sleep well.
It has already happened now and it is so late with this announcement that people are suffering ungodly pain and all you can do is this. Really??? you need to do nore, stop tapering them at all, if a patients is functional on the does they are on leave them alone. You are not doctors.

Rosanna Zaffiro

I’m not fooled! I doubt this will change anything. The CDC still continues to say that ” These are recommended guidelines”. Maybe someone should tell the DEA this!!

sandy auriene sullivan

Where were they in 2016 whe. My forced taper started. Nearly killed me.

Class action? Name PROP and Kolobdy; he swore up and down not one patient hurt.

It’s coming, the fall of Andrew Kolondy’s medical advocacy career.

Barbara Ann Sheridan

Forced Tapering is tantamount to tourture! How about paitents and doctors together decide what the best course of treatment is, the proper dosage, whether to raise or lower according to the needs of each individual and the ability to change treatment if warrented. Pharmacists…the good ones who actually know the paitents history and ….dare to dream….their name can give feedback to the doctor if they feel the perscriptions are not in a paitents best interest but cannot decide to play puppet master, same with insurance companies. I welcome input from those who should know more then me…input not control though. We CPS need a villiage too, a villiage of intelligent, compassionate, radical thinking care givers who really have a paitents best intrests at heart. Government can’t do the jobs we elect them to do why would they think they can do the jobs of highly trained medical professionals now too?

T. Negrete

These people who make these policies don’t care! This will be my last post. Makes no difference anyway! We are just things to them! Working humans who have exhausted their use and cost too much $$$$$$ to keep alive. If you are poor or middle class in this, so called great country, they could care less, you’re expendable as long as $$$$$$$ are saved. If you’ve noticed, no one with any power is doing anything, seems like everyone is passing the buck! When they make any decisions to reverse this travesty, it’s at a snail’s pace! Way too slow for me! Torture does end, and we are being tortured! Death is inviting, no more pain!

Julie A French

I am another forgotten female chronic pain patient who cannot believe what I read from the FDA on tapering and sudden reductions in opiates can do to the patients, it’s dangerous, deadly. Well that’s exactly what the Dr did to me, no tapering no nothing done. I was taking 30 mg morphine sulfate ×3 +norco for breakthrough pain. I have MS, Lupus, heart valve disease, RA and a blood disorder Thalasemia. I’m only 56 and I dont even have a Doctor anymore, the one that cut off meds in 1 visit closed up about 6 months after he wrecked my life even more, if that’s even possible. I was terribly sick the Dr. office said go to ER if your sick, hospital said drug seeking.I have lost 3 Dr’s now, first one family Dr 7 yrs prison. 2nd Dr. Neurology 3 yr prison 3rd closed. I live in a rural area so I have no Dr 7months. I know the pain that everyone is feeling. I have been following the pain task force and their report. In the report from the FDA that I just read had no mentioning of helping the patients with this stupid opiate ban keep or get their meds, their only concern is keeping or cutting us off slowly. This is inhumane to us who suffer with disabilities and live in the USA.

Stephen M

It’s about time, but likely too little too late


After being on pain and sezuire medication for 20+ years.My Dr retired with 30 day notice.. leaving me no where to go,every Dr I talked to said that it could kill me to stop suddenly and it feels like they are right.. Dr afraid to prescribe.. I’ve lost my life being in bed all the time I’m in too much pain to do anything… I’m angry at myself for trusting my drs & they knowing let us suffer, This is not living….my youngest grandson is 13 months old I’ve not been able to hold him since he was 4 months old..A drunk driver choose to drive drunk when I was 15years old hitting my family head on collision breaking pelvic hips hands leg etc.. I didn’t choose to live in this condition I’m 59years old & my body is still paying for a drunk driver choice & ” living” in pain by gov law choices .SMH We may be damaged but we’re still human beings and are treated less than….

Linda Royster

My wean started April. Oxycodone 10/325 cut from 4 to 3. Next month 3 to 2. Next month 7.5 2x. Next month 5 2x. By August it was 5mg straight oxyx2
And I was out with 1 script of same in September.

I had be on 2 15mg. ERMorphine up until sometime in 2016. I visited their satellite office and they over prescribed by 1 extra pill. That day I went to main office and requested new script and for them to take pills. Answer no it would be taken care of next month. In same satellite office the next month after pill count and me ha extra pills they did it again. I made sure I went to main office the next month. I wanted my old script. It was not to be. Seemed they had to correct the overwrite and the answer was for me to move to 30mg twice a day to get rid of pills.

My wean from morphineEr 60 mg a day began 5-25. I was reduced from
60er to 45mg and remained on that until September when I was released.

Yes I dealt with more pain and flu like symptoms along the way when Oxycodone was reduced. The worst was morphine. It affected my brain, caused me to wonder why I was on this earth. Withdrawal from morphine affects every nerve in your body. Eventually my feet were numb. I had my normal neuro appointment for occipital migraines and hand tremors and she did basic tests and declared no feeling in my feet. One instrument she used I asked to be put on my hand. At that point I was truly frightened. The good news is the feeling has mostly come back.
I told her what I had read on morphine withdrawal and she agreed to wait until my next 6 month appointment to do nerve conduction and emg. Also did balance test and I failed that. That visit was In October.

This pain management would not give me a wean schedule. We are blessed with a pharmacist worked with us. He was appalled at the small amount of time I had.
My other blessing is that I have been in therapy with a physcolgist for a long time and intothe withdrawal of Morphine I was pdescibed a low dose of clonodine

Maggie King

Three years and 100s of thousands of pain patients too late!! My PM clinic cut us down 50% over 2017-2018. Then I tested negative for my hydrocodone twice in 2 months-and this was NOT possible. But we have no process to defend ourselves from false positives or negatives. Although my research uncovered false positives are 15% of UDTs and up to 24% of false negatives. Genetics, OTCs and many RX meds can create problems in UDTs, but clinics were and are using anything to purge their rosters.

I told the clinic I would find another clinic (and they said I would leave in good standing). I called 8-10 clinics in our area (poor and rural). Half were not accepting anyone. Two were injections only anymore. Another got my med records, MRIs, etc so MD could review. He must have had 500 files because after 6 months, he had not read mine.

My old clinic is now closed permanently and I have had no pain meds in 11 months. When I googled my old clinic, I found dozens of negative reviews from others, claiming they had “failed” their UDTs too. One gentleman tested positive for cocaine. He left the clinic and went to an independent lab and had a hair test that showed only his pain meds for the past 120 days. So he is innocent but still has had no pain meds either. I have been a PM patient for 12 years, he for a decade!!!

I am 66, been disabled(and SSDI) since 2005. My medical conditions will never improve. My last 10 years will be pretty much housebound, some days are bedridden. My 22 yr old daughter asks me out to lunch and a bit of shopping….I want to go so bad, and I cry. When I do save up my strength and go, I am in agony for 2 or 3 days.

How, in the most advanced democracy in the world, are people left to suffer in silence, and kill themselves or withdraw from ALL quality of life and functionality, with medicine withheld from them? Cheap plentiful medications that we have taken responsibly for years? Where is the sanity and compassion?


Well, that’s encouraging. But it’s going to take a lot more than a “Safety Message” to fix what’s broken.

The text states “When you and your patient have agreed to taper the dose of opioid analgesic…”, which made me laugh. Chronic pain patients throughout the US are not being given a choice about the discontinuation of their opioid medications. I was dropped by my pain management provider with no notice, no explanation, and no medication refills. There was no dialogue between patient and provider, no patient-specific tapering plan, no ongoing monitoring. I am very fortunate that my primary doctor was willing to step in and continue my treatment.

I have little confidence that physicians will read this new Safety Message and suddenly stop yanking chronic pain patients off of opioid medications. There is an atmosphere of fear and distrust regarding opioids and chronic pain patients, and it must be overcome to effect change. So much harm has been done to patients due to overzealous misinterpretation of the CDC Guidelines. This Safety Message is a good start, but we need a redefinition of the goals and principles of pain management. Only time - and being treated respectfully and with dignity - can repair the badly-damaged trust that chronic pain patients once had in their doctors.


By now most of us have been cut off completely or have been decreased.I go to my PCP tomorrow and dreading it.I am not sure what to expect this month but I do know since being decreased once again that I have even more less of quality of life than before.I have many Chronic pain issues like so many and also had Thyroid Cancer.I have been prescribed Pain med for about 12 years with no issues.I was originally given Morphine for a constant Cough while in the Hospital for over a month,that was 12 years ago!I also am prescribed Percocet and Soma.Since being decreased I am coughing more as I have interstitial Lung disease which im schedualed to go to the chest center at Yale Hospital soon.I was hospitalized again in November for my Lungs.I will get to the point since this decrease I have developed a Unknown Heart Condition which my Cardiologist prescribed a 30 day event Monitor that I’m still wearing.I never had any known heart issue prior to this.I also developed high blood pressure which I never had and finally i am still under visiting nurse care since getting discharged from the Hospital in November.I have many Chronic pain issues in my back and neck and recently on mri they found synrix on of Cervical Spine.Not sure I spelled that correctly! I was told it was time to have surgery as I am dragging my feet and tripping due to nerve damage however no Surgeon will touch me right now due to my Lung condition.I spend most my days now in bed because I’m not getting the pain relief i once was.I lost communication with most the Friends I had.Not to mention the panic attacks.Happy to hear about the FDA but why did it take this long! A little late for those who sadly ended their life and also those who were cut off completely or had their meds decreased.I highly doubt any Dr will give us back the dose that at least gave of some quality of life.I really hope My PCP has read the FDA issued safety message.I guess I will find out tomorrow.My prayers go out to everyone here.

Ya gotta wonder if the DEA is going to continue to raid the offices of docs who prescribe pain meds. I’ve been very angry at the docs who’ve just meekly complied with the forced “guidelines” but can see that getting stuck between on fed agency on one side saying “you gotta treat them” & another saying “we’re going to steal all your assets & your life if you do” on the other would be a tad stressful. If they don’t rein in the DEA, I predict a major doctor shortage & even more throw in the towel. Good going, guv!!!


Hey, I have a better idea until now not thought of!
How about not tapering at all? How about either leaving patients at the levels they are now, no further decreases, or putting them back on the doses they were on to begin with, before the powers that be created all the problems?
Now there’s an idea!
Sadly, it’s an idea too obvious and makes too much sense for it to be embraced by anyone but chronic pain patients.

Katie Olmstead

This “advancement” feels like a bad joke. As others have said, every layperson knows this. Every scrip that we get says this. What is NOT being said is that forced taper or being turned away from doctors or pain clinics remains unethical. Criminal. Even a careful taper is a taper. Shouldn’t the goal be for each and every patient to be as comfortable and able as possible? What Dr. Helfand said is true: non-doctors are still making policies that we have to live with (or die with). My insurance company has often rejected coverage for medications that my own beloved PCP has been prescribing for me for years. HE is the one with an MD. Not some person working in a rubber stamp clerical position at the insurance company, the one who only knows to say NO.


The FDA is just now figuring this out?!
I knew this after I graduated from college and started working in Pharmacy better than30 years ago.

Current Resident

This news is hopefully of some use to someone. As long as the government continues to persecute pain patients and their doctors the situation will not change. For years past and present even well documented patients are being forced off of the opiate medications that work for them and only prescribed drugs like Buprenorphine for withdraw while not addressing the physical pain except with psychological counseling. This only conveys that taking medication is addiction and pain can be ignored or taking drugs is bad and suffering is okay. There have been numerous past cases reported in other situations where government interference of patient care has caused extreme suffering and death. How can anything change when the government is mandating ridiculous laws that only harm citizens and benefit the unlawful? As long as the corruption continues there is little hope for our ill.

Joe I

Three god damn years later they release this?! Im glad they did however serious damage has been done. My brother in law works as a nurse in Reno NV in the ER. He jokes about not treating pain with anything other than NSAIDs. Just to shed some light on how doctors and such have treated people suffering. Chronic and acute pain isn’t funny or a laughing matter.

Miss Peabody

How can patients NOT have an increase in pain after being discontinued from long-term opioid use? Pain is why we started taking opioids in the first place. It takes someone with a medical degree to figure this out?

Alan Edwards

Once again the FDA is trying to brainwash pain patients and every reader with their infallible proclamations. Some of the above is false. Please readers, be critical thinkers. This is simply more opioid bashing claiming in undertone to care about we doomed pain patients- who have much more experience than the government with opioids and pain.
The fallacy above is what renowned Chemist Hamilton Morris calls “Pharmacological Determinism” which he specifically applied to opioids in a podcast with Joe Rogan. No patient withdrawing from any medication will follow FDA dogma. Every patient will have a unique response to pain management.
And have they drafted a statement warning about death from Amitriptyline withdrawal or SSRI withdrawal ? No. I went through both.
Pharmacists, Doctors and the general public are nearly fully indoctrinated against chronic pain patients and opioids. Opioids never receive credit for putting people back to work and ending suffering. Not now.
Yet your local pharmacist and doctor will happily change your gender with no government intervention or warnings.


This was a Purpose Driven profound mistake in “First do no Harm” to chronic pain patients.
The CDC, powers that be, and studies we’re so driven to prove they could stop the drug use and suicide rate that those of us in the legal use community we’re labeled, shamed, demeaned, and bullied into telling us we are abusers, drug addicts, and drug seekers. We have been judged guilty by these powers that be.
These new guide lines was a power play to “put us in our place” and we chronic pain patients just need to step up and follow these guide lines because it has been deemed necessary to protect us since we are not capable of understanding our own pain.
I know, understand, and live in constant pain. I am capable to understand your judgement of me is bulling.
All the powers that be you didn’t follow the first guidelines “first do no Harm.”
Now I am bullied, harassed, demeaned, and judged by physician’s, friends, family, and anyone who thinks it’s there right to set me on there ideals of pain and medicatin. You, the powers that be have HARMED thousands of patients who are not guilty.
You are guility of not following the physician oath and indeed our constitution our inelienable rights as a patient, citizen, and chronic pain patient. As a citizen of these United States of America you have taken my rights away to be free to know my pain threshold.
You have judged, condemned me, and sentenced me with your laws when I am innocent.
I know this sounds so harsh but my quality of life is so much more important than quanity. I have never contiplated suicide. But to take away my everyday abilities
depression, despair, and such loneliness are always my shadows.
Some patients have already decided on suicide and there deaths will always cry from there grave you took away my quality of life without even considering “do no Harm” as your guide. There families will not forget you the powers that be and this will go down in history as a grave error on your part.


Just a little late and and a lot of pain . My doctor gave me a letter stating he could no longer prescribe opoids. Like January 2018. I was on 30mgs of oxycotin e r. Twice daily. With 10 mg hydrocodone 1 three times a day as needed for break through pain. I stopped the oxycotin on my own. My doctor took the next 4 month’s to ween me off the oxycotin. I can’t walk with out a cane or walker. I can’t do house work, unless it’s done sitting. I’ve gained over 100lbs. I’m in constant pain and have tried different modalities before being prescribed opoids. I was never addicted physically or mentally. FDA and the CDC have taken it upon them selves to punish the American people who are in pain.


What needs to stop is forced tapers!

Hallie Villano



I am also a pain patient and I have been tapered. I went about the PA’s head and my doctor stood behind me. My friend Patti was not so lucky. It is heart breaking to read her messages before she died.
I have attached them.
Pm- My pain clinic refuses to give Morphine Sulfate. No immediate release meds at all. You know how sometimes the pain worsens quickly and stronger and I NEED that immediate boost to try to get through the hours until I can take the MS Contin again, but the time release doesn’t give enough pain relief at one time to do me any god, and now to have it nearly down to nothing! They refuse muscle relaxers as well. More and more they are eliminating oral meds altogether and just doing spinal injections. That’s all I have run into trying to find another pain doctor. I My former pcp had me on MS Contin and Morphine Sulfate along with Demorol all at the same time. Those were the best years of my life with managing the pain But then the crackdown started with pcp’s prescribing opioids and he said I had to find a pain clinic !l I know that the marijuana isn’t going to work for me. I am the same as you. It’s not strong enough and I get the migraines. Just what we need, more head pain! I am so close to throwing in the towel!

She died shortly after this..
There are many other messages from her. I run a support group for 1500 patients. Everyone is afraid. We have real pain.


I have a series of messages from a patient that died due to for forced. tapering. Can I send them to you? Message from PM-I do not understand why they, who were being so kind just days ago, all of a sudden turned on me like this? They had all of their questions answered in my first 2 maybe 3 posts! I told them that the first post in under the date Jan 2017 because that was the date that was on the very first post I saw when logging in, and I didn’t notice the “17” year. I have not lied, not exaggerated, not misled, why are they so adamant that none of this could have happened to me? Having 2 to 3 surgeries every year doesn’t make it impossible to have had 13 implants inserted? Do the math, about 6 months! I emailed Toni to let her know how much I agreed with one articles she put up on the Internet quite a while ago. I wrote everything and more to her than what I have posted. Toni didn’t turn me away or question me. She welcomed me into the group I wrote down your email and phone number. I am not sure I want to join another group now. I literally am living one day at a time. At 87 lbs and with b/p being 248/123 as it was Friday , my heart and body cannot continue to take this. I have already sat down and gone over my funeral wishes. So you see, I don’t have time to dwell on these complications from the proplast. I never told any of the group any of that. I certainly don’t have the time for such pettiness! Boy, they would completely go insane if I let them know that on top of the 38 jaw and facial surgeries, I’ve had to have 32 others to try to repair the this broken body Yep. that’s 70 Anyway, I will think about your support group. But I think I’ve had enough wasting my time here even thinking about Vitek, Proplast or TMJ.

Thank you for friending me. No, I can’t say that I have had any low pain days this past week, especially with this cold rainy, damp weather. been on the couch every day not able to do anything except feed my dogs

Signe Topai

Well, it’s an improvement. However, when I read statement of “when both physician and PATIENT AGREE to tapering”, how realistic is that? Yes, taper for some is appropriate but when as a patient EVER had THE CHOICE!! Chronic Pain Patients, hold you doctors account!!

Mareaeric Campagna

It is about time, but “a day late and a dollar short!” How many thousands of people have suffered unnecessarily?
I am thankful for this announcement but now hurting individuals need to have their pain covered adequately to be able to function like human beings, just like the individuals who are responsinle for making such changes. It is wrong, unfair and cruel. I know, I have suffered with chronic pain for the past 18 years.
We also like to work so we can have our bills paid and provide for our family’s needs. I loved working with customers and going to work. When pain meds are decreased, working becomes so difficult a person is unable to continue.
I pray more positive changes will follow.

Veronica M Clark

Is the FDA joking?? I’ve been entirely cut off of any pain meds because of them - the FDA. It’s been over 2 years now, and I’ve gained a lot of weight because of my inability to be more mobile. The pain is beyond imagination. I was on pain meds for over 20 years. Due to my increasingly uncontrollable pain, I was fired for the first, and last time in my life. I’m disabled for many reasons. I cancel numerous appointments because of the pain. I’ve never been ‘hooked’ on any drug. Can stop on a dime, with no affects. That doesn’t ignore the fact that I cannot do anything, at all, without being in pain. And without any pain medication, I do very little. I’ve never been ‘scared’ to do anything - but now just the thought of taking a shower, and knowing what that will cost me physically, and emotionally, scares me. I give up.

Tom Sullivan

I am a 79 year old male on the back nine of life with 4 lower back surgeries 2 new hips. I am in my fourth taper month from 40mg Oxy daily for 22 years now on 5mg Methadone twice daily. Pain does not allow me extended standing or walking. Exercising every other day on stationary bike that’s it.
I have not been told after countless questions where the end is and what med will take over for pain.
Will need something to finish off just wondering if anyone has any suggestions on what will help me finish my last round.
Thank you and good luck to all stay strong wishing all of you good thoughts.