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

This standard describes the care that you should expect to receive if you are prescribed an opioid analgesic during a hospital visit for acute pain. Find out what the standard says for consumers.

What are opioid analgesics?

Opioid analgesics are strong medicines used to treat pain.  Opioid analgesics used to treat pain include codeine, morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl, which have a number of brand names. Other types of opioids, such as heroin and methadone, are in the same family of medicines but are not prescribed for pain - they are not discussed in this standard.

What is acute pain?

Acute pain is pain that lasts for a few moments, days or weeks, such as the pain that occurs after injury or surgery. This standard focuses on acute pain only.

It does not include treatment for chronic pain, which is daily pain for a period of three months or more.

What the Standard means for you

It is important that any medicines used for acute pain help to reduce your pain but also avoid side effects. Opioid analgesics should be used for the shortest possible time. The standard contains nine quality statements that describe the recommended care. You can use the information below to understand what the standard says and what this means for you.

Quality statements

Useful resources from the Commission

Fact sheet or brochure

This resource for consumers explains what each quality statement in the Opioid Analgesic Stewardship in Acute Pain Clinical Care Standard means for people presenting with acute pain to the emergency department or following in-patient surgery.

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