The following patient information is adapted from the College’s safe prescribing standard and the 2017 Canadian Guideline for Opioids in Chronic Non-Cancer Pain.
Prescription opioids may help with some types of pain in the short term but may have serious risks in the long term. Although they can be an important part of treatment in relieving suffering for patients with active cancer, in hospice or under palliative care, studies are not available to indicate whether opioids control chronic non-cancer pain well when used long-term.
Before taking opioid medication for chronic pain, talk to your physician about:
- pain treatment options, including those that do not involve prescription drugs
- past or current drug and alcohol use
- the risks and benefits of taking prescription opioids
A list of frequently asked questions is available here.
- Chronic Pain Self-Management Program
- Pain BC
- McMaster Pain Centre patient handout
- Canadian Guidelines for Safe and Effective Use of Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain, Appendix B-4: Opioid Information for Patients
- Deprescribing Information Pamphlets
- BC Provincial Academic Detailing Service, Opioids in Chronic Non-Cancer Pain (July 2013) (list of patient resources on page 2)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- US Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense
- HealthLink BC Pain Management Clinic