The new Canadian guideline presents evidence-based recommendations for prescribing of opioids for chronic non-cancer pain, including maximum dose recommendations, avoiding opioids in high-risk populations, and guidance for tapering.
Jason Busse, Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesia at McMaster University and researcher with the Michael G. DeGroote National Pain Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, co-authored the guideline (open access). In this podcast, he speaks with Dr. Diane Kelsall, interim editor-in-chief, CMAJ, and explains the recommendations.
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Praveen Ganty is a Consultant in Pain Medicine & Anesthesia in Toronto
There is a new fashion in the world of Medicine, and in the world of primary care in particular. It is the reluctance to continue prescribing, or to prescribe, opioids. There are two sides to the situation. As medical professionals, we have realized the potential harm that opioids can cause to potentially any patient, especially if prescribed for chronic non-cancer pain. However, many of us have also decided to stop prescribing opioids to patients who have been on them for many years, which raises some concerns. The first principle in the practice of Medicine is Primum non nocere-first do no harm - (modified to ‘first do no further harm’ by some authors).
Managing chronic pain is not easy and - let’s face it - most of us don’t have enough training in this area. A 2011 survey revealed that only an average of 19.5 hours are devoted to the management of pain in an average medical school curriculum. ...continue reading
Barbara Sibbald, News and Humanities editor for the Canadian Medical Association Journal, reads the CMAJ Humanities Encounters article "Cathartic narratives for chaotic thinking" (subscription required). The article is written by Dr. Richard Hovey, associate professor in the Division of Oral Health and Society with the Faculty of Dentistry at McGill University.
In the article, Dr. Hovey speaks from personal experience about life with severe chronic pain.
Listen to the article reading: