Opioid Analgesic Stewardship in Acute Pain Clinical Care Standard

The Commission is developing an Opioid Analgesic Stewardship in Acute Pain Clinical Care Standard. This standard will guide clinicians and health service organisations on the appropriate use and review of opioid analgesics for managing acute pain in acute care settings. It will also inform consumers about the care they can expect to receive when opioid analgesics are prescribed for acute pain.

Next steps

Public consultation on the draft clinical care standard and supporting resources was undertaken from 31 August 2021 until 4 October 2021. Following public consultation, the Commission reviews all comments and uses this analysis to finalise the draft clinical care standard.


Priority actions to reduce medication-related harm from high-risk medicines, including opioid analgesics, were identified in Australia’s response to the World Health Organization Global Patient Safety Challenge – Medication without harm (2020). One of the identified priority actions was the development of a national guideline for peri-surgical management of high-risk medicines, including the quantity prescribed at hospital discharge, the duration of therapy post-hospital, and where appropriate the introduction of de-escalation plans as part of the hospital discharge summary.

Following a public consultation on prescription opioids in 2018, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) established the Opioid Regulatory Advisory Group top provide independent, expert advice to review proposed options for a regulatory response to opioid use and misuse in Australia. As a result a number of opioid analgesic regulatory changes were implemented June 2020.

In April 2020 the TGA engaged the Commission to develop a framework for a National Opioid Analgesic Stewardship program, and an accompanying clinical care standard, which together support the opioid analgesic regulatory changes. The aim of the TGA regulatory changes, the National Opioid Analgesics Stewardship program and the accompanying clinical care standard is to minimise the risk of harm associated with opioid analgesic use.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Opioid Analgesic Stewardship in Acute Pain Clinical Care Standard, please email CCS@safetyandquality.gov.au

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