Information for clinicians - Opioid Analgesic Stewardship in Acute Pain Clinical Care Standard

Guidance for clinicians on the nine quality statements from the Opioid Analgesic Stewardship in Acute Pain Clinical Care Standard, as well as helpful resources.

What do clinicians need to know?

Hospital emergency departments and surgical services are common sources of opioid analgesic prescribing for acute pain, and are key risk areas for initiation of ongoing use. 

In the early postoperative period, each refill and week of opioid analgesic prescription is associated with a large increase in opioid misuse among opioid-naive patients. The number of days in the first opioid analgesic prescription is more strongly related to misuse than the dosage. 

Opioid analgesics are effective for managing acute pain, but as high-risk medicines they can cause unintended harm. Careful assessment and management are required to deliver the benefits of prescribing opioid analgesics while minimising the possibility of harms, including respiratory depression, misuse, dependence and overdose.

The Opioid Analgesic Stewardship in Acute Pain Clinical Care Standard includes the nine quality statements listed below. 

Quality Statements

Resources for clinicians

NPS MedicineWise resources

The following items are available to download from NPS MedicineWise. 

Safe use of opioids in the Emergency Department

Safe use of opioids for surgical patients

Safe use of opioids for acute pain: toolkit slide deck