Canada releases guidelines for prescription painkillers

Posted May 4, 2010 by Gordon K. Chan
The Canadian Medical Association has issued national guidelines to assist the prescription of pain medication. The aim is to ensure that proper assessment and treatment are conducted to prevent abuse, addiction and overdose of opioid painkillers.
selva / flickr
Canada has responded to reports of painkilling over-treatment and under-treatment by issuing a comprehensive guideline to better manage chronic pain, reports the Globe and Mail.
The "minefield" of prescription pain drugs and a report of significant gaps in knowledge may have confused physicians and patients alike.
Physicians are described as "uncertain", even "afraid" when referring to their prescription practices on opioid medications.
A concerned medical community indicated that this condition was in the context of navigating through the expanding list of medication along with a steady rate of demand and consumption.
The new guidelines include addiction screening, patient education, and initial low dose prescriptions.
From 1999 to 2004, deaths related to oxycodone prescriptions in the province of Ontario increased fivefold.
Canada is the third largest global consumer per capita of opioid medications. The U.S. and Belgium are ahead respectively.