• Length:
    1 Weeks
  • Effort:
    1–3 hours per week
  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
  • Language:
  • Video Transcript:
  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time

About this course

Skip About this course

This activity will enable health care providers to recognize when risks of chronic opioid therapy outweigh benefits, and how to safely and compassionately taper patients down or off of chronic opioid therapy (including the use of buprenorphine to make this transition). A real life patient case scenario will be used to illustrate these principles in practice, including what to say to patients to communicate risks and provide support through the difficult period of withdrawal. When to refer for addiction treatment will also be discussed.


The Stanford University School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Stanford University School of Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

If you would like to earn CME credit from Stanford University School of Medicine for participating in this course, please review the information here prior to beginning the activity.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Recognize when risks of chronic opioid therapy outweigh benefits and effectively communicate this information to patients.
  • Employ language to prepare patients in advance for the opioid taper, and to provide emotional support in the midst of withdrawal.
  • Integrate the key features of a successful outpatient taper off of chronic opioid therapy: go slowly, take breaks, never go backwards.
  • Distinguish the signs and symptoms of opioid use disorder (addiction), and intervene with compassion when, in the process of a taper, an opioid use disorder comes to light.
  • Counsel patients on non-opioid alternatives to chronic pain

Meet your instructors

Anna Lembke
Associate Professor and Medical Director of Addiction Medicine
Stanford University