About this learning module

Continuing professional education

The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine (external link) of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom has approved this learning module for up to 2.5 CPD credits. Participants should only record the number of hours spent working through the module.

If you are claiming CPD credits, for audit purposes we recommend that you:

  • retain any pages you print
  • retain any notes you make
  • write a reflective commentary on what you have learned and how this may help in your practice.

About this learning module

Opioids are prescribed very widely, mainly for managing pain. This module identifies the most important hazards of opioids and informs on actions that health professionals can take in order to anticipate, minimise and manage the risks.

This learning module on managing medicines risk is derived largely from summaries of product characteristics (which, in turn, are based on rigorous evaluation of submitted evidence). Supplementary sources such as treatment guidelines have been used to expand on advice on managing specific risks of opioids.

The module does not cover general advice on managing pain or other opioid-responsive conditions. You should consult other resources (including evidence-based national guidelines) for advice on selecting an intervention from the range of treatment options available, taking into account all the individual clinical circumstances.

We will update this learning module from time to time.

Who should complete this module

This training module is for medical, nursing and pharmaceutical professions. It is suitable for those nearing the end of their formal training or those who have recently completed such training. Health professionals who are established in practice will also find the module a helpful refresher.

Learning objective

Used with summaries of product characteristics and authoritative guidelines on the clinical use of opioids, this module will help to maximise the benefits of opioid medicines.

You will be introduced to common adverse effects as well as less frequent but serious risks of opioids and the steps you can take to manage these risks.

Time required

Completing the module, including reflecting on the interspersed activities will take about two and a half hours. You will need about 30 minutes to answer the multiple-choice questions and to check your answers against the question feedback we have provided.

This content was last updated 13 February 2015.