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.
For completion of and reflection on 5 episodes of care this activity has been accredited for:
5 hours of Group 3 CPD or 15 CPD credits upon successful completion of relevant assessment activities and a suitable period of reflection before and after the activity. Accreditation number: N1908013AA.
For completion of and reflection on 10 episodes of care this activity has been accredited for:
8 hours of Group 3 CPD or 24 CPD credits upon successful completion of relevant assessment activities and a suitable period of reflection before and after the activity. Accreditation number: N1908013AA.
Pharmacy Practice Reviews assist pharmacists to meet the following competency standards as set out in the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Competency Standards for Pharmacists in Australia 2010:
- Standard 1.1 Uphold professionalism in practice
- Standard 1.2 Observe and promote ethical standards
- Standard 1.5 Apply expertise in professional practice
- Standard 2.1 Collaborate and work in partnership for the delivery of patient centred, culturally responsive care
- Standard 2.2 Collaborate with professional colleagues
- Standard 2.3 Communicate effectively
- Standard 2.4 Apply interpersonal communication skills to address problems
- Standard 3.1 Develop a patient-centred, culturally responsive approach to medication management
- Standard 3.3 Monitor and evaluate medication management
- Standard 3.5 Support Quality Use of Medicines
- Standard 3.6 Promote health and well-being
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.
On completion of this activity, participants should be able to:
- Discuss with patients the limited role of opioids in improving function for chronic non-cancer pain, using a biopsychosocial model of care
- Recommend non-pharmacological pain management strategies individualised for patients
- Identify patients at increased risk of harms from opioids who may benefit from tapering
- Implement effective communication when discussing tapering with patients
You will have access to:
- Up-to-date clinical guidance which provides evidence-based information to update your knowledge and guide your counselling encounters with patients
- Pharmacist tools that inform and support your best practice discussions with patients
- Expert commentary from Karalyn Huxhagen, BPharm FPS AACPA