Home / Options for tapering opioids

This section is for people who are interested in lowering (tapering) or stopping their opioids.

There are many ways that you and your doctor can taper your opioids.
Usually doctors taper opioids over the course of a few months or years, depending on how much you’re taking and how long you’ve been taking them.
You can also taper them faster (over a few weeks or even over just a few days).
Here are four common tapering regimens.
1. Slowest (over years) is usually recommended for people taking high dose opioids for many years.Doctors lower the dose by 2-10% every 4 to 8 weeks, pausing when needed.
2. Slower (over months) doctor’s lower the dose 5-20% every 4 month.
3. Faster (over weeks): Doctors lower the dose 10-20% every week.
4. Rapid (over days): Doctors lower the dose  20-50% on the first day, then go 10-20% lower every day.

There are many different ways to help people lower their opioids. There are outpatient programs, inpatient programs, group sessions, and even some that can be done over the phone. For example, mindfulness meditation consists of 2 hour group sessions once a week for 2 months, followed by 30 minutes a day of at-home practice. Talk to you doctor about what’s available near you and how fast (or slow) you’d like to taper.

Whichever taper you and your doctor choose, there will be some life changes involved. Your pain may temporarily get worse and you may experience opioid withdrawal symptoms (especially with a rapid taper). But the benefits are many and include less pain, better function, and better quality of life. Patients who lower their opioid doses report much less pain interference.

Let your doctor know how fast or slow you’d like to taper your opioids. Remember, whichever you prefer, tapering should always be done under your doctor ‘s supervision.
Please select which tapering time frame makes most sense to you: