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Opioids are high-risk medicines. You can reduce harm by prescribing safely, monitoring for side effects and involving patients.

When prescribing:

  • remember different opioids and routes have different potencies
  • co-prescribe antinauseants, laxatives and other analgesics when clinically appropriate
  • consider renal function
  • consider interactions with other sedatives
  • consider if opioids are needed on discharge and, if so, for how long.

Monitor patients’:

  • pain
  • sedation level
  • respiratory rate
  • bowel activity.

For more information, see these online resources: