Practical Guidance

Preventing and managing problems with opioid prescribing for chronic non-cancer pain (July 2015)

This practical guidance on the rational use of opioids is intended to assist clinicians to manage the complex medical, ethical and regulatory issues that arise when using opioids for chronic pain in adults in primary care. It is based on the best available evidence or expert consensus where research evidence is lacking. The following members of the Expert Advisory Group provided expertise in pain medicine, addiction medicine, paediatric, adult and geriatric clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, regulatory management of drugs of addiction, general practice, health technology assessment and medicines evaluation and clinical pharmacy: Prof Milton Cohen (Chair), Mr Phillip Bannon, Dr Sasha Bennett, Ms Anna Drew, Dr Chris Hayes, Ms Aine Heaney, Prof Sarah Hilmer, Dr Simon Holliday, Dr Greg Kelly, Ms Judith Mackson, Dr Bridin Murnion and Dr Hester Wilson.

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Opioid Skin Patches are High Risk Medicines (September 2016)

An updated NSW TAG advisory has been developed for health care professionals regarding the safe and effective use of opioid skin patches. This replaces an alert that was published in July 2006 by NSW TAG’s SAFER Medicines Group. These patches contain high risk medicines which have led to deaths and serious adverse effects, particularly in patients using fentanyl skin patches.

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Additional Prescribing Guidelines

In 2002, NSW TAG published prescribing guidelines intended to assist general practitioners and other primary care clinicians managing patients with pain. They focus on the rational use of opioids in migraine and low back pain. Patient Information Brochures for chronic pain, migraine and low back pain were also published.

  • Patient Information Brochure for Management of Chronic Pain (December 2002) [PDF]
  • Migraine Guidelines for GPs (December 2002) [PDF]
  • Patient Information Brochure for Migraine (December 2002) [PDF]
  • Low Back Pain Guidelines for GPs (December 2002) [PDF]
  • Patient Information Brochure for Low Back Pain (December 2002) [PDF]