Media releases

Choosing Wisely resource addresses patient opioid knowledge gap

A recent scientific paper published in the ANZ Journal of Surgery found that patients are not provided with sufficient information when discharged from a hospital with opioids—but a Choosing Wisely resource for use in hospitals is helping address this patient knowledge gap.

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18 June 2020

A recent scientific paper published in the ANZ Journal of Surgery found that patients are not provided with sufficient information when discharged from a hospital with opioids—but a Choosing Wisely resource for use in hospitals is helping address this patient knowledge gap.

The research paper explored GPs’ opinions around information provided to patients discharged with opioids from an Australian metropolitan hospital. The study found that these patients often had false expectations that they would be pain-free with opioids, they did not understand the risks around opioids, and they expected to continue to use opioids indefinitely.

A new survey* released by NPS MedicineWise earlier this week supported the paper’s findings, with, for example, only 37% of respondents knowing that using an opioid in the long term can actually make the pain worse.

“Hospital staff are encouraged to provide the two-page Choosing Wisely patient guide on Managing pain and opioid medicines to people prescribed opioids as inpatients, or on discharge,” says NPS MedicineWise Client Relations Manager Dr Robyn Lindner.

“The guide aims to raise awareness about opioids use for short-term pain, their side effects and the risks of dependence,” she says.

The patient guide includes:

  • Five questions people are encouraged to ask their health professional before leaving hospital with opioids. This has been modelled on Choosing Wisely Australia’s 5 questions to ask your doctor resource to guide better conversations with health professionals about tests, treatments and procedures
  • Tips for taking and storing opioids at home
  • A personal pain management plan that should be developed in conjunction with a health professional.

“Helping medical practitioners and consumers to develop pain management plans that work is essential to achieve changes in attitudes and behaviours that will lead to safe and appropriate prescribing and use of opioids,” says Dr Lindner.

*In case you missed it: NPS MedicineWise partnered with the Faculty of Pain Medicine ANZCA to launch a new information video for people who may be considering taking opioids for pain relief. The video was launched this week along with new survey findings – read more on the NPS MedicineWise website.

Media Contact

Matthew Harris, NPS MedicineWise Communications & PR adviser: (02) 8217 9229, 0419 618 365 or [email protected]

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