Let’s Talk About…

Prescribing: Opioids

and other drugs with potential for misuse or diversion



Now consulting on a draft standard of practice for Opioid Agonist Treatment

Read the draft and provide feedback

Opioid Prescribing Has Turned A Corner in Alberta

Physicians are prescribing opioids in lower doses and to fewer patients, and it could be in response to evidence-based guidelines, better physician education, new prescribing rules and general awareness of opioid-related issues.

Read the latest news:

Do you prescribe opioids in your practice?

Make sure you are following the standard of practice:

Treatment Suggestions:

  • For opioid-naive patients: Use opioid alternatives if possible. I f opioids are appropriate for acute pain, give the minimum dose for just a few days. Manage the patient carefully if you extend beyond those first few days. If starting a patient on opioids for chronic non-cancer pain, follow the 2017 Canadian Opioid Prescribing Guideline.
  • For patients on high-dose opioid therapy: The threshold of 50 OME/day is a recommendation not a rule, and individual circumstances need to be considered. Ultimately the goal is to ensure patient safety and well-being.
  • For opioid-dependent patients: Patients asking for larger doses, seeking early refills or who exhibit other behavior suggestive of misuse may have opioid use disorder. These patients need help. Discharging them from practice is not in the patient’s best interests. Speak to an opioid dependency expert for advice on:
    • Initiating and managing opioid agonist therapy
    • Prescribing drugs like buprenorphine/naloxone, methadone or naloxone

    More Prescribing Resources and Tools

Are you a patient?

  • If you are taking a prescribed opioid, check out these safety fact sheets: Opioid Safety for Patients with Acute Pain and Opioid Safety for Patients with Chronic Pain
  • Read our Message to Albertans Living With Chronic Pain
  • If you are already taking a prescription opioid for chronic pain, you may wish to discuss your treatment with your doctor to make sure your medication and dose are still appropriate. Safely reducing opioid use requires a plan and medical expertise, and should never be done quickly or without a doctor’s help.
  • There is some public concern that physicians are abruptly cutting people off their medication. The College has been very clear physicians should not abruptly stop prescribing opioids and must not abandon their patients currently receiving opioids. If this situation applies to you, first speak with your physician. If this does not resolve the situation, you may wish to file a written complaint with the College. File a complaint

Background

If not opioids, what?