PRIUM White Paper Probes Rx Drug Tapering Guidelines

ATLANTA, GA. (May 8, 2014) – Researchers for PRIUM’s new white paper, “An Analysis of Drug Therapy Tapering Guidelines,” found no guidelines for how to taper a regimen that includes multiple drug classifications.

“Polypharmacy, or the use of too many or redundant drugs, is a significant issue in chronic pain treatment. You will often see five or more prescription drugs from multiple drug classifications, within a drug regimen,” said PRIUM’s Senior Vice President Mark Pew, who wrote the white paper with Kimberly Vernachio, PharmD, RPh. The white paper is available at

“We found several pain management guidelines for initiating and maintaining opioid and other prescription drug therapy, limited and inconsistent information for tapering those drugs, and nothing for tapering a drug regimen involving multiple drug classifications,” said Vernachio.

Researchers analyzed information in 18 guidelines dealing with drug-related and patient-related aspects of treatment and tapering. Sixty one percent of the guidelines failed to address tapering at all, while the remaining 39 percent discussed the tapering of individual drugs only, with no mention of tapering multiple drug classifications simultaneously. Individual drug tapering information is of limited value as it does not match the reality of chronic pain drug regimens that typically include opioids, benzodiazepines, sleep aids, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and others.

Tapering patients off a mix of drug classifications is difficult because different drugs require different tapering protocols.

“These findings highlight the information void in which physicians are expected to successfully manage tapering of drug therapy,” Pew said. PRIUM plans to continue research and to develop a program for appropriate tapering.

An Ameritox solutions provider, PRIUM sets the industry standard for workers’ compensation medical interventions through its ability to secure higher agreement rates and to help ensure compliance with modified treatment plans. The hallmark of the medical intervention company’s success is a collaborative physician engagement process encompassing evidence-based medicine, clinical oversight, and jurisdictional guidelines to facilitate optimal financial and clinical outcomes. PRIUM helps eliminate unnecessary treatment through a comprehensive approach that includes complex medical interventions, utilization reviews, urine drug monitoring, and independent medical exams. Based in Duluth, Ga., PRIUM can be reached at or 888.588.4964.

Twitter: @PRIUM1

# # #

Media Contact: Helen Knight, King Knight Communications, 813-690-4787;