Improper use of opioids sparks a new Canadian practice guideline

May 3, 2010

Increases in opioid prescriptions, leading to increased misuse, serious injuries, and overdose deaths have spurred Canadian colleges of physicians and surgeons to create a new guideline for opioid use with chronic non-cancer pain, states an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Opioid use in Canada has increased significantly, with a 50% increase in recorded prescription-opioid consumption between 2000 and 2004. Canada is now the world's third-largest consumer per capita.

In November 2007, Canadian medical regulators formed the National Opioid Use Guideline Group (NOUGG) and created the Canadian Guideline. Their goal was to help develop and implement a guidelineto provide physicians with information to prescribe opioids safely and effectively to patients with chronic non-cancer pain.

"The Canadian Guideline is intended to assist physicians with decisions to initiate appropriate trials of opioid therapy for patients with chronic non-cancer pain, to monitor long-term opioid therapy, and to detect and respond appropriately to situations of opioid misuse including addiction," write Clarence Weppler, Co-chair of the National Opioid Use Guideline Group and coauthors. "It was not designed to serve as a standard of care nor as a training manual."

The Canadian Guideline targets primary-care physicians and medical and surgical specialists who manage patients with chronic non-cancer pain. Pharmacists, nurses and dentists may also find it useful. The Guideline does not discuss treatment of with non-opioids.

Explore further: Illicit Canadian opioid use exceeds heroin

More information: The full guideline documents are available at

Related Stories

Illicit Canadian opioid use exceeds heroin

November 21, 2006

A Canadian study shows prescription opioids have become the major form of illicit opioid use, raising questions about the nation's drug control policy.

Study examines use of opioids

August 27, 2008

Researchers from Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center have found that in a given week, over 10 million Americans are taking opioids, and more than 4 million are taking them regularly (at least five days per week, ...

New guidelines for prescribing opioid pain drugs published

February 10, 2009

A prestigious panel of pain-management experts representing the American Pain Society (APS) and the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) has published the first comprehensive clinical practice guideline ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet May 03, 2010
If you live here this is not a shock and the report is a bit deceptive. I have RA and the amount of opiates is only limited by how fast I use them. The government may track the use but the doctors do not and there is rarely any checks by the gp's for extended use effects or amounts. When I asked once about the amont I was allowed to have which seemed rather excessive I was told it didn't matter. Did find out that it was more than a terminal cancer patient was allowed. I gather it is easier to keep the population stoned and sedate instead of actually havng a medical system that deals with illness.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.