National Prescribing Curriculum

Chronic pain: opioid therapy

Consider the role of opioid analgesics in managing a 64-year-old man who suffers from non-specific chronic back pain.

  • Cost: free


The National Prescribing Curriculum (NPC) is a series of interactive case-based modules that encourage confident and rational prescribing. The modules follow a stepwise approach as outlined in the WHO's Guide to Good Prescribing.

In this module, you will be considering the role of opioid analgesics in managing a 64-year-old man who suffers from chronic non-specific back pain.


Learning objectives

On completion of this module, you should be able to:

  • recognise the role of thorough history and physical examination to determine if investigations are necessary
  • develop a multidisciplinary pain management plan
  • explore non-drug strategies for management of chronic non-cancer pain
  • understand the importance of initiating any opioid therapy on a trial basis only to assess effectiveness and adverse effects
  • understand the risks and benefits of opioid analgesia in chronic non-cancer pain
  • assess the indications for ongoing opioid analgesia on an individual patient basis.


Prescribing Competencies Framework
The Prescribing Competencies Framework describes the competencies that health professionals require to prescribe medicines judiciously, appropriately, safely and effectively in the Australian healthcare system