Pharmacy Practice Review
Opioids: reducing harms from long-term use
Discuss benefits and harms of opioids with patients and explore non-pharmacological alternatives.
Content updated August 2020 with funding from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australian Government Department of Health, to reflect regulatory reforms and PBS listing changes.
Opioids can play an important role in the management of pain and can be beneficial for some individuals. However, there is increasing concern about their use and safety, especially in chronic non-cancer pain.
This Pharmacy Practice Review provides you with an opportunity to reflect on your counselling of patients using opioids for chronic non-cancer pain. Recognise the limited evidence of benefits of opioids and refresh your knowledge on the serious harms of long-term use. Identify factors that place patients at increased risk of harms, improve your confidence in talking about opioid tapering and reflect on strategies that have been implemented to mitigate harms and promote safe use of opioids.