Here is a collection of tools and resources for consumers, patients and carers, as well as health professionals, on pain management services.
Resources for consumers, patients and carers
A good place to start is to talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner, who will understand your condition and the reason you have been prescribed opioids. Another good source of information is your pharmacist.
- Healthdirect: comprehensive government-funded resource for consumers providing information about medicines and health issues.
- NPS MedicineWise has easy-to-read information about opioids and chronic pain.
- Painaustralia's Database of Pain Services and Pain Programs helps you find pain-specific services near you.
- Reachforthefacts.com: South Australian-based website with lots of useful information.
- The Pain Link telephone helpline - 1300 340 357 - is staffed by volunteers with personal experience of chronic pain. They are available to take calls from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday.
- Pain Management Network: Online resource to develop skills and knowledge for self-management.
ORIMA Research was commissioned to conduct communication developmental research, on behalf of the Department. The results of this research has informed the consumer and health professional communication activities for the opioid regulatory reforms.
Read the Communication developmental research on prescription opioids
Resources for health professionals
There will be a range of activities to support the implementation of these changes and to equip doctors and other health professionals with the tools and resources to apply these in practice. Similarly, there will be a range of resources for consumers to empower them to make informed choices about their treatment.
Clinician information sheet on opioid analgesic tapering: summary
Clinician information sheet on opioid analgesic tapering
- This Radar article provides a good summary of the regulatory changes (and PBS changes that align with them).
- This MedicineWise News article presents the latest evidence on the limited role of opioids in chronic non-cancer pain. There is an emphasis on non-pharmacological therapies and active self-management as the preferred approach to improving function and quality of life for people living with chronic non-cancer pain.
- Action plan to use with patients (pdf,1.25Mb)*: NPS MedicineWise has teamed up with painaustralia and the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation to develop a resource that supports conversations between health professionals and consumers about the benefits of reducing or stopping their opioid dose. It clarifies what's involved in the process and helps to agree a planned approach.
- This conversation starter resource (pdf,205kb) offers useful information for health professionals to discuss tapering with patients.
- Pharmacy Practice Review: CPD activity for pharmacists. Opioids: reducing harms from long term use focuses on the important role pharmacists play to ensure the safe use of opioids for chronic non-cancer pain and to identify patients who may be at risk of harm from long-term use. Participants receive a counselling checklist and practice tips for starting conversations with patients about opioid tapering.
- Clinical e-Audit: Redefining 'doing well' on opioids. Review your prescribing of opioids for patients with chronic non-cancer pain.
A range of fact sheets for you to download and print for your patients.
Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA)
The Faculty of Pain Medicine's opioid calculator is designed to simplify the calculation of equianalgesic dose by expressing it as total oral Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose (oMEDD). It uses a "traffic light" dose warning system as a clear, simple way to indicate the risk of dose-related harm. Download the free smartphone app:
Better Pain Management: A professional, high quality online education program for specialist and general medical practitioners, medical students, nurses and allied health practitioners engaged in the care of patients with persistent pain.
Pain Management Network
The NSW Health Agency for Clinical Innovation has developed online tools to guide the assessment and management of pain.
Monash Addiction Research Centre
Screening for dependence: the Routine Opioid Outcomes Monitoring (ROOM) Tool (pdf, 180KB) is a screening tool for prescription opioid dependence, developed specifically to use in primary care settings.
National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction
A short resource addresses several key issues related to pharmaceutical opioids.
Palliative Care Australia
A resource providing information about opioids in palliative care.
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
- Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary and Handbook chapters on opioid conversion, opioid-induced constipation and opioid substitution therapy.
- Education resources for pharmacists on pain management.
- Codeine rescheduling resource hub: practice support tools and online education modules for pharmacists and pharmacy assistants.
Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia
Reducing opioid-related harm: A hospital pharmacy landscape paper (pdf,2.80Mb).
NSW Therapeutic Advisory Group
Resources relating to high risk medicines: This information should assist hospitals in the development of local resources required to comply with the NSW Ministry of Health Policy Directive on High Risk Medicines Management.
- A deprescribing guide for regular long-term opioid analgesic use in older adults (pdf,161kb)
- Opioid skin patches - Advisory (June 2020) (pdf,232kb)
- Opioid Skin Patches Safe Use Education (June 2020) (pptx,1.04Mb)
- Fentanyl Oromucosal Formulations - Advisory (full version) (May 2019) (pdf,199kb)
- Fentanyl Oromucosal Formulations - Advisory Summary (short version) (May 2019) (pdf,153kb)
- Fentanyl Oromucosal Formulations - Presentation for In-services (May 2019) (pptx,509kb)
- Fentanyl Oromucosal Formulations for BTCP Education (June 2020) (pptx,515kb)
Guidelines and position statements
- Royal College of General Practitioners (RACGP): Guidelines for prescribing drugs of dependence.
- Faculty of Pain Medicine ANZCA: Statement regarding the use of opioid analgesics in patients with chronic non-cancer pain.
- Pharmaceutical Society of Australia: Guidelines for pharmacists providing services for the chronic pain medscheck trial.
- Palliative Care Australia: Sustainable access to prescription opioids for use in palliative care (pdf,458kb).
- NSW Therapeutic Advisory Group: Practical guidance to assist clinicians on the rational use of for chronic pain in adults in primary care - Preventing and managing problems with opioid prescribing for chronic non-cancer pain (pdf,307kb).