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Overprescribing of opioid analgesics is a major international public health problem. 

Globally, the use of opioids has more than doubled, most notably in the United States, Canada and Australia. 


There are established harms associated with long-term opioid use, and limited evidence regarding the ongoing efficacy of opioids for chronic pain.

Image by Christine Sandu

The appropriate use of opioids means safely prescribing them for people who are likely to benefit from them. Appropriate use also means stopping or reducing opioids over time (deprescribing) when the harms of continuation outweigh the benefits for the individual.


A multidisciplinary guideline development group, led by researchers at the University of Sydney have developed an evidence-based guideline to provide healthcare professionals with advice on when and how to reduce or cease opioids in clinical practice. 

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