New – Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain

Driven by a common interest in tackling the overuse and abuse of prescription opioids in Canada, the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) is pleased to be one of eight national organizations to form the Pan-Canadian Collaborative on Education for Improved Opioid Prescribing. This Collaborative formed in response to Health Canada’s 2016 Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis and shares a commitment to a coordinated, pan-Canadian approach to the safe, effective, and compassionate management of pain in our communities. The Collaborative is committed to providing education for improved opioid prescribing and to addressing the issue comprehensively and collectively.

The 2017 Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain, developed by the Michael G. DeGroote National Pain Centre at McMaster University, the guideline will assist health care providers in practice decisions regarding the safe and effective use of opioids for chronic non-cancer pain management. It aims to keep patients safe from the potential harms of opioids while recognizing the therapeutic benefits of these medications.

The Collaborative is composed of members from the following organizations: the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, the Canadian Medical Protective Association, the Canadian Medical Association, the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada, Memorial University of Newfoundland MDcme, the Michael G. DeGroote National Pain Centre at McMaster University, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

On May 18th The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health called for a review of the guideline development process by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). We understand that this may create questions about the quality of the new guideline so we want to provide you with the following information.

First, because of the importance of the opioid guideline to Canadian physicians and their patients, the CFPC understands the Minister’s decision to undertake a review that will allow all parties affected by the guideline to be certain about its credibility. The guideline development process was validated nationally and internationally and the resulting recommendations and guidance statements underwent multiple levels of review.

Based on our current knowledge, we believe the guidelines are based on the best available evidence and are appropriate to inform clinical practice, pending the outcome of the independent review. Together with our Collaborative partners, the CFPC remains committed to addressing the opioid crisis that is affecting people every day. We will keep you informed of the outcome of the independent guideline review as information becomes available.

Links and resources

The 2017 Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Therapy and Chronic Non-Cancer Pain is available online at
http://www.cmaj.ca/content/189/18/E659
http://nationalpaincentre.mcmaster.ca/guidelines.html

The guideline is also available at https://www.magicapp.org/canadianopioidGL
This is an interactive, dynamic website and mobile app, that features decision aids and facilitates decision making between patients and providers.

For more information on Opioid Management visit the Opioid Management page.

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