Opioids have been considered some of the most potent analgesics available. Whist they can be effective for acute pain and pain at the end of life, evidence for their effectiveness in most types of chronic pain is very sparse. At same time, there is increasing evidence of harms that may be associated with both short- and long-term uses.
‘Opioid stewardship’ has been defined as ‘coordinated interventions designed to improve, monitor, and evaluate the use of opioids in order to support and protect human health’ [ISMP 2018]. All healthcare professionals have a role to play in promoting safe use and to minimise harms with opioids.
The presentation will review the evidence base for use of opioids and the range of opioid related harms. There will then be consideration of strategies and opportunities for opioid stewardship at local and national levels.