Clinical case study

Chronic pain: Supporting patients to taper opioids

A 42-year-old woman requests a repeat prescription for opioids at a first consultation with a GP she has not seen before. She has chronic non-cancer pain and has been taking opioids for 4 years. Where do you go from here?


This case study has been developed with funding from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australian Government Department of Health.

  • Start: 29 April 2021
  • Cost: free

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Accreditation

This activity has been approved for 2 points (CPD Activity) under the RACGP CPD Program for the 2020–2022 triennium (activity: 253571)

This activity has been accredited for 2 hours under the performance review category in the ACRRM PD Program for the 2020–2022 triennium (activity: 23006)

It is recommended that 2 CPD hours be recorded for the purposes of self-directed CPD.

 

About

A 42-year-old woman requests a repeat prescription for opioids at a first consultation with a GP she has not seen before. She has chronic non-cancer pain and has been taking opioids for 4 years. Where do you go from here?

Complete this online case study and receive instant feedback on your responses, compare your approach with your peers and read expert commentary provided by A/Prof Michael Vagg, Dean of the Faculty of Pain Medicine, Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists; Director, Pain Matrix; and Conjoint Clinical Associate Professor, Deakin University School of Medicine.

 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this activity you should be able to:

  • Discuss contributing psychosocial factors with patients with chronic non-cancer pain to develop individualised goals that improve function and quality of life.
  • Explain the limited role of opioids in the management of chronic non-cancer pain to better inform patients of their treatment options.
  • Review and identify patients who may benefit from tapering opioids to reduce adverse effects of long-term opioid use.
  • Implement effective communication when discussing tapering with patients to support lowering or stopping opioids.
  • Apply referral criteria to identify patients who may require additional support and access to specialists to improve health outcomes.